Howard Nemerov

Here you will find the Poem The War In The Air of poet Howard Nemerov

The War In The Air

For a saving grace, we didn't see our dead, 
Who rarely bothered coming home to die 
But simply stayed away out there 
In the clean war, the war in the air. 

Seldom the ghosts come back bearing their tales 
Of hitting the earth, the incompressible sea, 
But stayed up there in the relative wind, 
Shades fading in the mind, 

Who had no graves but only epitaphs 
Where never so many spoke for never so few: 
Per ardua, said the partisans of Mars, 
Per aspera, to the stars. 

That was the good war, the war we won 
As if there was no death, for goodness's sake. 
With the help of the losers we left out there 
In the air, in the empty air.