Sunday, May 3, 2015

Memorial Day Remembrances in Verse-Virtual

Trimmed candles for every mustered mettle
and fractured mother’s window, each cigarette-
seared mortal wound, and every plain white cross.

-- From Kevin Heaton's poem for the May issue of Verse-Virtual, in recognition of Memorial Day.

            I have two poems in this issue of Verse-Virtual, the online literary journal with a commitment to community. And neither of them (for a change) is about the weather, the time of year, or growing things.
            Addressing the theme of the holiday that was originally called "Decoration Day," a day created for visiting the graveyards of the Civil War dead and decorating the graves of loved ones lost in that deadliest of America's wars, the first of these poems is called "For the Ageless Fallen." The poem borrows inspiration from a famous poem memorializing England's World War I dead by Lawrence Bunyin titled "For the Fallen."
            It begins:

You cannot remember the dead
They are numberless
The young Alabaman Jesse H. Hutchins, signed up after Sumter,
Four years later having survived the famous slaughters in the dirt of Virginia
and the green killing fields of Gettysburg
stumbled on a campsite raid
in flight from the final redoubt of Petersburg
and joined his fellow six-hundred twenty-thousand comrades
who slipped betimes
between the smoky doom of Charleston Harbor
and the shrunken days of Appomattox 


            The second poem, "Twentieth Century Man," borrows some details from the biography of a family member. It begins:  
Lawrence, death haunted your days
The last of the brood, the baby of the family when your father died
Leaving behind unrequited syndicalist longings in another tongue,
the tongue of your childhood
You might have loved him, but you did not know him
Your brother, the true man of the family, the family that loved and cherished you,
disappeared high over the Pacific
Closer to the angels or the eye of God than mortal life could bear 


            The link for my poems is:
            Plenty of other good stuff in this journal as well.