What Makes A Man...?

What propels a man to climb out,
At night,
At 200 mph,
And 20,000 ft
Along a the burning wing of a bomber
Over enemy territory
Amidst flak and fighter fire
Holding nothing but a small extinguisher,
With neither harness nor hope of return?

Only 905192 Sergeant Norman Cyril Jackson knows.

What makes a man
Spend a day and a night in Nomansland
Reportedly as close at 25 yards from enemy defences
Raining fire at all but point blank range,
Repeatedly to-ing and fro-ing
Carrying the wounded to safety
And a future they'd given up all hope of having
Whilst caring nothing for his own wounds?
For most mortals that would have been more than enough...

But then they weren't with Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse later at Paaschendaele
To see him do it all over again.

From whence comes the courage
Of a child with Leukaemia
Knowing he will never see next week
Investing his last reserves of life in comforting the living? ............

Perhaps even parents don't know.

What makes a man...?
....God alone knows.

by Tony Jolley

Comments (2)

I think most of us have the capacity to rise to the challenge should a certain situation demand it. At least, I hope I would! Thanks for these inspiring tales of valour.
Tony this is a stunner and written with thought and careful preparation it rings in the reader's mind... and such a needed tribute too for all the unknowns who carried on regardless for a future they dreamed of and such as we can only ever hope to see achieved... your question will only be answered by your last line..... a fine write and 10/10 from Fay..