Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day (Poem)

I wrote the following poem for Veteran's Day one year ago. My father, a WWII veteran, a member of the famous Merrill's Marauders, is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, high on a hill in one of the oldest sections, with a beautiful view of Washington. When he died, he had not yet celebrated his 74th birthday. My brother, who was drafted during the Vietnam War and rejected for military service, died May 5, 2009, not quite six months after that day I visited our father's grave; he had lived to be just 59. He lies at peace forever more than a thousand miles away, in Venice, Florida.


Veteran's Day

Visiting Arlington, I watch the lifting of
Early morning mist beyond my father's marker,
That too-small testament to deeds in China, Burma, India
     amid jungle, on mountaintop, more than 60 years ago;
Exposed on reverse the names of two of nine children;
     to left and right, unclaimed spaces
Reserved for the unnamed of his time and day.
Answers want for an audience here.
Next-of-kin push back against their loss,
Softening as silence

Deepens on that hillside where our father rests.
A son's own battle, this one with cancer,
Yields only questions.

Copyright 2008-2009 Maureen E. Doallas. All Rights Reserved.

5 comments:

Joyce Wycoff said...

Maureen ... thanks for your poem and your thoughts on this day of memory of all who have paid the high price of service to our country.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Dear Maureen,

Peace be with you. Our father's left behind amazing daughters. Our father's left behind a legacy of creative gifts expressed through the words we write, the wonder we share with the world around us.

I too lost my brother shortly after my father's passing. My father was 75 when he died. My brother, a year and a half later, a month shy of his 49th birthday.

Sawbonna. My soul sees you.

Louise

lucy said...

a lovely ode to veteran's day. thank you.

nAncY said...

good to read because it helps me know you better... and in it we remember loved ones together.

Laurie said...

Mo... as always, beautiful as you! I am so glad you continue to share your thoughts and feelings through your gift of poetry....Hugs