> Raphael, If that's a possibility, it seems to me it would
> deprive the image of a lot of its power, don't you think?

I don't see why, in so far as the reality was powerful enough in this case.
Also, it only adds to the other meanings, it doesn't supplant them. The dove
also is the Holy Spirit, and in the earlier section where the dove is
mentioned, it clearly is a plane (cf 'the horizon of its homing').

> Also, the is the verb "BREAKS the air". I can see a plane
> doing that, but a bird?

Some technical considerations here:

- As far as I know, German bombers didn't dive, and their speed was nothing
like that of a jet. They generally flew overhead at night, in relatively
close formation, and dropped their bombs from a fairly respectable height.
The bombs themselves did of course 'break the air'.

- a pigeon suddenly catching fire in the night air could be said to break
that air. What do you think?

- if Eliot is referring to some daytime aerial combat, the 'dove descending
breaks the air' makes more sense - the 'flickering flames' mentioned in the
earlier passage refer to guns, not bombs. Only it's not quite clear whether
the plane belongs to the RAF or the Luftwaffe. Maybe the ambiguity is


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