08 November 2008

VFW

Sitting with friends
at a long table cluttered
with bowls of oatmeal
and cold stacks of pancakes,
he holds his coffee mug
with both hands.

And recites the memory
of a cold ditch in Korea,
of hot chinese metal
and smoldering wool,
and the certainty
that he would burst into flames.

11 comments:

studio lolo said...

I guess the fear never leaves them. Not really. And for those of us who sit at home, how can we ever really know how they feel?

Powerful,Cat.
XX

Catnapping said...

this is really kind of you studio lolo.

i actually wrote this last year, a couple of days after veteran's day. it needs another verse (strophe?) i had one started, but it changed the feel of things...and reached for contrivances that so many emotional poems tend towards. i wanted to keep a distance...so i guess i'm saying this is a work in progress....maybe next veteran's day it will be complete. hehe.

last year, just a day or three after veterans' day, i was at a coffee shop, and overheard some older gentlemen talking about how cold it was in 51. they weren't talking about korea, but montana, and how many head of cattle they'd lost in a single night.

but having grown up military - my father, a vet of the korean war...and it being just a day or two after Veterans' Day, my thoughts went there.

Ben There said...

By virtue of how I got here (to your blog) I saw the title and though this was going to be a McCain piece. Was glad to see that wasn't the case and I'll second lolo; powerful stuff.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Well written, dear Cat.

My dad was in WWII. He never spoke about the war. After his death 25 years ago, I found diaries he had written throughout the war. It was then that I understood.

bookbabie said...

Perfect post for Veterans Day. My nephew ships out to Iraq after the holidays.

Sandy said...

I can just hear these old timers reminiscing about a time and a far away land they'll never forget.

Not many left now so it's good to see you honoring them.

S

tsduff said...

So very succinctly put. Give that virtual soldier a hug from me.

Thomas Paine said...

A work of real beauty, Cat.

Love you always.

Lori Witzel said...

An elegant proof of Picasso's quote:
"Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand."

And, for the rest of the quote:
"The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies. If he only shows in his work that he has searched, and researched, for the way to put over lies, he would never accomplish anything."

From Robert Genn's "Painter's Keys."

http://quote.robertgenn.com
/auth_search.php?name=Pablo%20Picasso

Thanks for popping by, BTW! I don't get around the blogosphere as much as I used to, and I'm glad to see the cool things you've been up to.

studio lolo said...

I gave this another read today. I can see him sitting there and I can smell the stale beer that lingers at the VFW.

XX ~L~

montag said...

Wonderful poem.
...and they do never forget, just as we shall never forget 2008 and the years to come.