Chief Works "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" (1955), a grim, brooding masterpiece, is the most quoted poem to come out of World War II. Enfolded in the plexiglass dome posed like a blister on the underside of a B-17 or B-24 bomber, the speaker is ripe for catastrophe. To intensify the image of doom, the poet robs the five-line poem of suspense by establishing in the title that the speaker does not survive the war. To enhance the stark terror of a gunner's task, Jarrell makes him soft and vulnerable, like a tender, unborn fetus. Swiveling like a latter-day watchman in the round, the gunner hunches in the turret to track the enemy below with .50-caliber machine-gun fire. The collar of his napped flight jacket freezes in the frigid air six miles up, where he meets the death-dealing black
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Ball Turret Gunner, Jarrell, War II. Enfolded, napped flight jacket