Chickenshit, An Anatomy
At the beginning of the war nineteen-year-old Timothy Corsellis, brimming with high purpose and the spirit of self-sacrifice for a noble end, joined the RAF. As he reports in his poem, "What I Never Saw,"
I was ready for death,
Ready to give my all in one expansive gesture
For a cause that was worthy of death.
Thus he enlisted,
ready to fight and to die.
But he soon saw that his early visions had not been complete:
What I never saw
Were the weary hours of waiting while the sun rose and set . . .
He found further that none of his fellow fliers seemed at all interested in even considering what the war could be said to be about. Instead,
We sat together as we sat at peace
Bound by no ideal of service
But by a common interest in pornography and a desire
to outdrink one another.
The dreary, demeaning lining-up was something he'd not anticipated,