11. Brothers In Arms – Dire Straits When: June 6th, 1944
He’d held a gun before:
Well before June ’44,
Bagging rabbits in the fields near his home.
He gripped it tight as the boat lurched on through the foam.
He’d run before:
Countless miles before the war,
Across grass, through woods; blood pumping, his heart.
Now his legs scrambled on sand as the beach blew apart.
He’d known friends before:
But not like the 48, this Marine Commando corps,
Bunkered under dunes; for respite, to hide.
O’Boyle, the Corporal, lay dead by his side.
I’d been to church before:
Usually head bowed, eyes fixed on the floor;
Not a believer in gods but respectful of men.
Especially one, that after the war, found peace with a Wren.
I’d remembered before:
Silly stuff – an accident, bowling a ball through his patio door
Or watching him wind up Grandma, a sparkle in his eye,
Perfected and practiced as their years had gone by.
I’ll remember again:
A silent two minutes for those lost and those slain.
And the quiet dignity of the man that I knew
Who never asked us for anything but that we live our lives true.
For my grandfathers: inspired by the one I was fortunate to know but not forgetting the one that, unfortunately, I barely had time with before he passed away.