Poem by Michael Whelan

WHEN WE FLEW

Death of an Irish Airman during the Great War

O how I witnessed worlds amongst the clouds,
that peace, the freedom, those futures and the past,
to patrol a morning’s sun to its final spark,
spilling out a day’s horizons.
Remember, I alone, chose this path,
to roam the skies above the autumnal Earth,
short lived but truly spent.
And, when that moment came
to fall from heaven’s breaths,
only the fields of France embraced me.
Yes, I am of Ireland, do not blame the enemy,
for as brothers, in that same ground, we rest.
But think of us,
in all the years to come,
when you contemplate our war,
that when we flew
we were part of the few
who gave for you our all.

Written and recited by Corporal Michael J. Whelan
at the unveiling of a Victory Cross Commemorative Stone to Major Edward “Mick”
Mannock VC in Glasnevin Cemetery on 27 July 2018