POEMS AVAILABLE ON PODCAST
Two short Memorial Day poems to remember and reflect on the sacrifice of all those who gave their lives for freedom. The first is a notable World War II poem, graphic and difficult, because war is hell. The second is a meditation by a young poet.
The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner
by Randall Jarrell
From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
Randall Jarrell was a notable poet, critic and teacher, born in Nashville, Tennessee. He served in the US Air Force in WWII.
by Lucretia Maria Davidson
(written in her 15th year)
How sweet the hour when daylight blends
With the pensive shadows on evening’s breast;
And dear to the heart is the pleasure it lends,
For ‘tis like the departure of saints to their rest.
Oh, ‘tis sweet, Saranac, on thy loved banks to stray
To watch the last day-beam dance light on thy wave,
To mark the white skiff as it skims o’er the bay,
Or heedlessly bounds o’er the warrior’s grave.
Oh, ’tis sweet to a heart unentangled and light,
When with hope’s brilliant prospects the fancy is blest,
To pause ‘mid its day-dreams so witchingly bright,
And mark the last sunbeams, while sinking to rest.
Today’s poems are shared in honor of my Uncle, Nguyen Dinh Phuc. He was a officer, a combat engineer, in the South Vietnamese Army. He was taken prisoner after the Fall of Saigon in 1975 and tried to escape several times.
Estimates of the Vietnamese officers, government officials, workers and supporters of South Vietnam taken into communist reeducation camps or prisons number as high as 500,000 to 1 million. This program was implemented as both a means of revenge and communist indoctrination after the illegal takeover of South Vietnam in 1975. Prisoners were incarcerated for as long as 17 years, with most terms ranging from three to 10 years. (Wiki link)
My Uncle never came home.