Stars & stripes ripple from the pole.
An old willow leans over the water,
strand after strand of green tears.
I was not quite ten years old the day we traveled
To one site of the D-Day invasion nine years before.
I asked what the trouble was. His words sounded cryptic:
“We lost a lot of men here.”
I’ll say it again and say it differently
because the horror of war must never be forgotten.
The boy hid beneath the stairs
when the Good Guys came to kill him.
She didn’t know why, but she said she was very happy, as happy as she had ever been. She was like a voice in the midst of war, a calming, soothing voice from home. He heard the words, he was moved to tears at their affection. He had survived.
Today, there are approximately 20.17 million veterans – 7 percent of the U.S. population. That’s more than 20 million stories, along with the stories of their loved ones. Sometimes poetry is the most effective way to capture both the ambiguity and the story.
While Fussell wrote on a wide variety of subjects over his long life—ranging from Augustan humanism, Samuel Johnson, and Kingsley Amis to the 2nd Amendment, the Indianapolis 500, and travel in between-the-wars Europe—war, the irony of war, the suffering and lunacy and permanent damage of war, the unfairness of war, lay at the heart of his writing and of his being.