Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veteran's Day (Belated)

American Life in Poetry: Column 189

On Swearing

In Normandy, at Point Du Hoc,
where some Rangers died,
Dad pointed to an old man
20 feet closer to the edge than us,
asking if I could see
the medal the man held
like a rosary.
As we approached the cliff
the man's swearing, each bulleted
syllable, sifted back
toward us in the ocean wind.
I turned away,
but my shoulder was held still
by my father's hand,
and I looked up at him
as he looked at the man.

In celebration of Veteran's Day, here is a telling poem by Gary Dop, a Minnesota poet. The veterans of World War II, now old, are dying by the thousands. Here's one still with us, standing at Normandy, remembering. -Ted Kooser

I did not get to post in time for Veteran's Day yesterday so here is the ALP column for this week and thanks to all veterans of the past and to those of the future who are currently serving. It was a good day for war movies yesterday as I flipped back and forth between The Bridge On the River Kwai and The Guns of Navarone, followed later with long stretches of Midway.


Churlita said...

And thank you for serving too, Dex.

Dexter said...

I joined up to learn Russian and see Europe...the Army decided I should go in a different direction.

CultMan said...

A little late on commmenting; but I really appreciate it (the poem).

David Jones' introduction to his phenomenal poem, "In Parenthesis" about WW I, mentions that cursing among the soldiers took on a "ritual" form, and an efficacity of sacred proportions; God bless these men.

Good stuff.

Dexter said...

I can also recommend the Library of America's book on Poets of WWII... from the American Poetry series...edited by Shapiro if I recall corretly...