Spitfire Squadron  

They withdraw quickly from

  people’s everyday life on the ground  
  and enter spirals of dangerous risks and reckoning,  
  each second is a question of life or death,  
  of being there and killing, of being killed.  
  If they can bear a return to  
  everyday nearness and words,  
  will they die from the too-hot  
  spontaneous existence they left behind?  
  Is each future action already  
  consumed in the air-fight’s heat,  
  the mind worn out in the firing’s concentration  
  and a dread of seconds of truth and death?  
  Does the pilot crack from madness  
  in the war-hero’s role, responsible for  
  exploding, spattering rape  
  and flee forever from the everyday  
  lack of excitement and cocky jok es about death?  
  We on the ground don’t envy them.  
  Harald Sverdrup  
  Translated by Louis Muinzer