John D. Bridgers M.D.
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Teakwood Ballads
The Ballad of a Known Pegasus

We were bound on a grim and grievous work
     deemed right in light of war.

Surging up the Philippines
     with a daily raid or more

Most we coursed from south to north,
     at times we filled the sky,

But this day our guest was to the west
     to the Island of Panay.


The archipelago lay below, made grand by tropic hand;

Green island masses -- large and least --
     suspended in the sea, this land.

Borne by powered turbulence
     we had nigh climbed three miles high;

And now we rolled across our goal,
     the Island of Panay.


No mystery that one deed that day
     but would scant history weave,

And the making of a memory
     be the main thing we'd achieve.

So circling there in high thin air
     we dared our foes defy,

And planned our play to have our way
     with the Island of Panay.


Our's was a minor show of force,
     the garrison was small.

Our task was simply to harass
     their only port of call;

To cripple any shipping
     and break lines of supply --

And so to Ilo Ilo,
     the harbor of Panay.


We bombers formed like migrant birds,
     our fighters overhead.

As the fighter wove we bombers dove --
     fanned into deadly spread.

We plummeted like flight or kytes --
     straight down did we fly;

To better loose our missiles
     on the moorings at Panay.


The Ilo Ilo layout was modest in its way,

Where a long and slender warehouse
     crowned a slim and lengthy quay.

Eros and red upon its roof
     a spot close claimed the eye;

So I took the same as point of aim
     on the warehouse at Panay.


As down we barged the spot grew large
     and assumed more shape, of course.

I was aghast that 'midst our blasts
     was "The Sign of the Flying Red Horse."

This well-known image gave me pause --
     I was tempted to pull out high,

For it seemed like dropping bombs at home
     instead of on Panay.


Today when by the road I see
     "The Sign of the Flying Red Horse"

I remember that logo on Ilo Ilo,
     and think of my halting remorse.

That was then and now is now --
     five decades since gone by --

But still I'm bent on the minutes spent
     when once we bombed Panay.

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John D. Bridgers M.D. by Carl Bridgers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Copyright ©