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A Challenge - Let's See What We Can Create in Honor of Veteran's Day

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Deb
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A Challenge - Let's See What We Can Create in Honor of Veteran's Day

Post by Deb » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:15 am

Create a new poem to honor our veterans or share your archived material. I thought it may motivate a few of us to write something new.

 

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Deb
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Re: A Challenge - Let's See What We Can Create in Honor of Veteran's Day

Post by Deb » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:57 am

Okay, a rough draft of my new Veteran's Day poem. 


Gifts from Hell

Of 461 men,
one of 32 survivors,
my grandpa,


O. C. Leach
escaped
through a porthole

after the USS Oklahoma

was torpedoed
and capsized

in Pearl Harbor.

Leach and two other men,
swam up into the oil-fueled fire 


in the bay
that was once
Battleship Row.


They had to
abandon
Father Aloysius Schmitt.

The Chaplin’s shoulders
too broad,
unable to escape.


Father Schmitt was the first
American
chaplain of
any faith to die in World War II.


There were many 
firsts in that war
from
Guadalcanal to Bougainville

and all the blood baths,
sunken ships,
and dead soldiers

in between,
before, during,
and after


the first
uranium gun-type bomb
used in war

dropped on Hiroshima
August 6, 1945

from a modified B-29


The first
plutonium implosion bomb 
used in war

dropped on Nagasaki 
three days later
like gifts from Hell.


Deborah Manning-Galarza
11/10/2019   
Last edited by Deb on Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Deb
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Re: A Challenge - Let's See What We Can Create in Honor of Veteran's Day

Post by Deb » Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:06 pm

One of my first poems posted at MWC in 2007

Ode to War

My Grandfather went off to war
fighting Japanese who'd bombed our shore.
Hiroshima, Nagasaki paid the price-we dropped the bomb.
Grandparents, mothers, and children burned and gone.
The cost too high? Yes, to be sure.
They knew what they were fighting for.

The world as one had gone to war.
Families murdered, burned, the horror.
When it was over Hitler was dead
no price too much upon his head.
Far across the distant shore
I know what they were fighting for.

My Uncle Bruce went off to war
navigating spy planes o’er the shore.
The Chaplin said,  "Your son is dead."
Granny sadly hung her head.
My uncle went away to war.
Don't know what he was fighting for.

My Daddy went away to war
scouting runways by the jungle floor.
He came home but had lost his smile.
I've looked for it all the while.
My Daddy went away to war.
Don't know what he was fighting for.

Our soldiers going off to war
mothers, fathers, sons and more.
On desert sands, dirt in their eyes
for oil, my God please hear their cries.
They’re brave and strong right to the core
Not sure, what are they fighting for?

My friend’s son returned from war
he knew just what he would endure.
They unloaded dead soldiers off the planes
a cold, wooden box with his remains
A mother’s heart broken, on her knees, fell to the floor
“My God, what are we fighting for?”



~Deborah Jean
        11/11/07
 

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Tracy Mitchell
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Re: A Challenge - Let's See What We Can Create in Honor of Veteran's Day

Post by Tracy Mitchell » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:07 pm

Wonderful poeming, Deb.  My father served in the Pacific and I follow so much of the emotional thread and share some sense of connection with the first poem.  Your second poem is special as well, though in different ways.    

Cheers.

T
Last edited by Tracy Mitchell on Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Challenge - Let's See What We Can Create in Honor of Veteran's Day

Post by Tracy Mitchell » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:09 pm

.


        Open Fields

I am in line today again
without thinking-  it is what I do.
I am with comrades I don’t know.  

I watch from sweating fields, 
trampled fields of stubble, 
pocked with stodgy grids 
of unmarked graves 
dimpling the earth.

God gathers us back from Fallujah,
from Da Nang, Verdun, Antietam.  

Shell-shock, Agent Orange, PTSD 
suffice for missing limbs, 
abandoned lives.    

I want to see what is holding
things up, slowing this down.

As the day wears on 
flies crawl through eye sockets
but not once do I lose sight
of the shining face of America.


~
 

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Re: A Challenge - Let's See What We Can Create in Honor of Veteran's Day

Post by Tracy Mitchell » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:57 pm

.

      Civil War Surgeons

A gauntness twined of tissue and munitions– 
teardrop confetti, and droplets of wannabe death– 
the ironic and roughly coextensive premiere 
of surgical anesthetics together
with industrial volumes of grapeshot, 
shrapnel, canister.

Manasssas, Seven Pines, Wilson’s Creek 
Gaines Mill, Dry Wood Creek. . . .    


By nightfall screams staccato                     
the cultivated killing fields, 
like a macabre Cage concerto rising
and falling with the darkness of breath.

Stench oozes from open body parts
baked and drained as the day transgresses, 
shuttled on mule carts to field hospitals
strewn across a stunned-numb theater of war.

Malvern Hill, Antietam, Fredericksburg, 
Chancellorsville. . . .


Without choice they come in lots
to these rodent stinking butchery tents.
From DeKalb, Red Wing, Bangor, and farms
of the Cuyahoga Valley.

Shiloh, Corinth, Stones River, Vicksburg, 
the big one at Gettysburg. . . .


News fliers report conflict near Gettysburg.
Neighbors gather around a list of names
nailed to the west wall of the Post Office.
From a prairie shack’s doorway a girl
in calico with child watches. She holds
herself tight, tightly braided to a story
hard on the edge of a coming storm. 

Yes, Gettysburg, and Rappahanock Station,  
Devil’s Backbone, Chickamauga,  Spring Hill. . . .


Feet, 
hands, legs, arms.  
All at the waiting for a moment passed.
All in piles outside the canvas wall tents.

In truth maybe they took too few.
Their war was against
infection.
Rot.

The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, 
Fischer’s Hill, Franklin, Waynesborough, 
Hatcher’s Run, White Oak Road, Sailor's Creek. . . .


~




 

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Gyppo
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Re: A Challenge - Let's See What We Can Create in Honor of Veteran's Day

Post by Gyppo » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:28 pm

I've walked this ground before.  But here's today's take.

=====

Nineteen Days

My Grandad was a 'Conchie'.
No coward but a true pacifist.
He went to the Great War,
but refused to carry arms.

They taught him how,
mocked his Wesleyan Chapel principles,
but that hard young Yorkshireman
never budged.
"Thou shalt not kill."

A top class bowler,
he flung grenades in training
with lethal accuracy.
But never against a human.

Just nineteen days at the front,
in the mud and blood of Flanders.
Volunteering as a Stretcher Bearer, 
and fleet-footed Company Runner.

Darting out to rescue the injured,
English and German alike, 
during lulls in the slaughter.
"A wounded man was a wounded man,
not a uniform." 

His Red Cross armband,
probably hidden under the mud,
offered only a flimsy shield
when a 'stray' shell 'fell short'
in No Man's Land, 
breaking the fragile cease fire. 

Shrapnel isn't selective.
Sent home with a fist sized hole,
ripped into his back.
His papers marked 'Unfit For War'.
As if he were just a commodity,
a broken weapon.

He lived for sixty more years,
a stern unbending man,
doing a clerical job he hated 
to feed his family.

No medals, no glory,
but a true man. 

Gyppo
I've been writing ever since I realised I could.  Storytelling since I started talking.  Poetry however comes and goes  ;-)

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Deb
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Re: A Challenge - Let's See What We Can Create in Honor of Veteran's Day

Post by Deb » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:03 pm

Thank you Tracy, you are too kind. 

I'm so glad you guys pitched in. I hoped there would be no crickets. Hope rewarded. ;)

Tracy,
both of your poems are stunning in honesty and they took me there inasmuch as I, a child of the '60s,'70s, and '80s could travel those horrific roads. Sounds like you know all too well, the horrors of war and the drive that lies in patriotism. Very nice.



Gyppo,
Your granddad sounds like a devoted man. You sound like a proud and knowing grandson, assuming this is indeed your granddad. A wonderful poem in the way you painted the picture of such an upstanding man. Well done. 

Thanks for adding your pieces.

~Deb
 

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Gyppo
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Re: A Challenge - Let's See What We Can Create in Honor of Veteran's Day

Post by Gyppo » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:48 pm

Thanks for the prompt, Deb.

Grandad G was, with insight, a potentially very violent man who chose not to unleash the beast.  He never inflicted his religion on anyone, but it was as rigid as his backbone when he stood for the national anthem.

He played cricket, both bowling and batting, as if it was a duel to the death, but always within the rules.

Some of the elders at his chapel thought it was wrong that his wife was in The Salvation Army, and told him he should insist on her attending their chapel.  His mother, a truly fierce old woman, told him the same.

Grandad just smiled and said they were welcome to tell her themselves ;-)

On Sundays they walked opposite ways at the end of their street, then met again after church.

One hell of a couple. 
I've been writing ever since I realised I could.  Storytelling since I started talking.  Poetry however comes and goes  ;-)

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Deb
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Re: A Challenge - Let's See What We Can Create in Honor of Veteran's Day

Post by Deb » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:41 am

That's a fascinating story, Gyppo.  Your mum's or your dad's side? I would read an entire book on these lives.

Isn't it both a blessing and a curse to be able to flesh out real characters who are oftentimes better than any characters one can conjure? 

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