Category Archives: Military Poems

Memorial Day

Memorial day for the war dead. Add now the grief of all your losses to their grief, even of a woman that has left you. Mix sorrow with urlsorrow, like time-saving history, which stacks holiday and sacrifice and mourning on one day for easy, convenient memory. Oh, sweet world soaked, like bread, in sweet milk for the terrible toothless God. “Behind all this some great happiness is hiding.” No use to weep inside and to scream outside. Behind all this perhaps some great happiness is hiding. Memorial day.

Bitter salt is dressed up as a little girl with flowers. The streets are cordoned off with ropes, for the marching together of the living and the dead. Children with a grief not their own march slowly, like stepping over broken glass. The flautist’s mouth will stay like that for many days. A dead soldier swims above little heads with the swimming movements of the dead, with the ancient error the dead have about the place of the living water.

A flag loses contact with reality and flies off. A shopwindow is decorated with dresses of beautiful women, in blue and white. And everything in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic, and Death. A great and royal animal is dying all through the night under the jasmine tree with a constant stare at the world. A man whose son died in the war walks in the street like a woman with a dead embryo in her womb. “Behind all this some great happiness is hiding.”

Armistice Day / Remembrance Day / Veterans Day 2012 Poem

Armistice Day / Remembrance Day / Veterans Day 2012 Poem

Remembrance Day

The annual poppy symbols flaunt Perennial sorrow;
Gratitude pride will not vaunt Tomorrow.
I leave the cenotaph, The unctuous adulation of the cleric;
I crave sea-silences, to laugh, Or to be sick!
Here, between tide and tide, In the place of dead men’s bones,
Here, where the grey gulls glide And the wind moans;
With weed-cerements, green bands, In pools of the ebb-tide flow,
With froth of spume on wetted sands Like snow.
Drift-water, reveal the wrack And the wreckage of wars;
Outward go, then, inevitably back, While I pause
To remember them, laughing, young, Remember the tales they told,
The lewd jokes, the songs that were sung, Of old.
To remember the pubs, the dances, the drink, (Left, but a little time),
The women, seduced with a wink And a gin and lime!
To recall the clean, boy-faces, so resigned On embarkation day;
The saddened girls whom they left behind In the family way!
But not the blood of battles, the stench, And the screaming fears;
Not the grovelling down in a shallow trench, Or the tears;
Nor even the sight of the steel-torn guts And the mangled limbs….
Nor the Church Parade behind Nissen huts* Singing hymns;
And how they prayed as the Padre prayed For the Proven Cause;
Proud, perhaps, of the part they played…. And I pause
Here, with the spume-flecked waves Of the endless tide,
To forget the rows of regimented graves Where brave men died.
 Author Unknown