Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday (not even close to) 55 & Da Count-Memorial Day


A young man serenely dabs his canvas
in the golden tones of autumn
quickly rinsing brushes between the colors
which mingle before him in dappled sunlight.

The brushes are jerked from his hands
a rifle is thrust in.
Khaki and olive march endlessly
before and behind him
until red spatters
cover his pack,
smear his feet, hands, and face.

His brow is mopped by a medic
who fingerpaints with mud and blood.
A lifetime of tears and libations
will never cleanse the old man's memory.


I know Memorial Day is not officially observed until Monday but I'm sharing this today anyway. The above writing is not intended in any way as a political statement and neither is what I am about to say. It's merely my poetic remembrance of my maternal grandfather. Memorial Day is about recalling those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Thankfully, everyone in my family who has served in the military has returned home alive, even if not unscathed. My maternal grandfather received a purple heart for wounds sustained during the Normandy invasion. Both my grandfathers served during WW2, both left for war as married men with two young children. One enlisted in the Navy, one was drafted into the Army.

As a child it was difficult for me to sort out what it meant. One grandfather was willing to talk, not boastfully just factually, about his experience but that grandmother would not permit discussion in her presence. My other grandmother was forever talking up the heroic efforts of her husband but he simply refused to ever address the issue when we asked about it. The one thing that was crystal clear from all the conflicting responses was that it was no lighthearted matter, that everyone involved (whether soldier, spouse, or child) was indelibly marked by the experience in some way.

This week, I'm counting the men in my family who have served with honor and the men and women now in harm's way. To those who have served in the past, I thank you and wish you peace.


Keyser Soze said...

Great post Limey.
BTW I dunno if I ever said so but these Friday 55's of yours have been, without exception, uh...exceptional. Really finewriting, great, deep and thoughtful poetry. Touching and tender, witty and wise. So..uh..rock the hell on witcha bad poet sef.
-Das Kaiser

S said...

Thanks for playing, Lime!

Helped, I've jumped up in the air, and I can't get down

Margie Blystone said...

A lovely post Lime... Makes me think of my Father-in-law who served in a bomb disposal unit in WWII... Only much later in his life did he speak of the war and when he did it was never about what he witnessed (bomb disposal, a messy business) but tales of the goofy things he and his fellow soldiers did to keep things light. He said the only Italian he ever learned was 'Donde es Bomba?'... Where's the bomb?... He learned that same line in French and several other languages too. He was a wonderful guy, passed away 3 yrs. ago... I sure miss him.

Logophile said...

Oh yes,
very timely,
and beautifully put.

Hypersonic said...

My Granddad never spoke about the war, he just said it was stupid. I have always agreed. Peace to the families and men suffering for the greed and megalomania of the few.

lecram sinun said...

A truly worthy count, Lime. Many have (and continue to) give of themselves.

BTW... I am finally up.

Paul Champagne said...

These thoughts are what memorial day is supposed to be about ... Thanks

Ameratis said...

Awesome post as usual Lime. As a Military brat I fully appreciate when others honor our men and women who serve. Thank you and have a fabulous Memorial day!

Charles said...

Well said, Lime.

I just hope our current conflict can soon be resolved and all those sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers can return whole and healthy. I'd just like it all to stop, so we could all learn to get along and love one another.

G-Man said...

Very powerful Trini..
Wonderful writing as usual. Thanks for sharing family memories.
Great Job..xoxox

Charles said...

Well that was a bit freaky... I thought the first line read, "A young man SEVERELY dabs..." I guess I need new glasses.

KFarmer said...

Great post Ms. Lime, great post. The men and women who have served and/or are serving deserve this time of contemplation and honor and to me- much, much more.

Thanks for sharing your stories. I wish I could share a few, but they are not mine to tell- yet.

MONA said...

Ah yes! it is memorial day on monday! I was just jogging my memory as to why the embassy is closed here!

wonderful 55 Lime...very tangy & Tasteful!

In short...very Lime!

PS> loved your retorts ar G man's & susie's :D

Chikken said...

Beautiful post, Lime. Thanks.

Lizard Princess said...

Remembering is a strong link to our past. It's so neat that you have instilled in you the memories of your grandparents.

Gawpo said...

I am going to light candles when I get home. That's what Enemy Of The Republic is doing. She has a great post up about this too. Between you two, I am remembering in holiday-worthy fashion. Thanks, Limers.

notary public said...

Hi there! True, the memories about the past will forever be in our minds and hearts..,yes thanks to those who have contributed to the shaping of our history! Thanks so much for sharing and keep em coming! :)

tracey said...

Lovely sentiments and beautifully expressed!

SignGurl said...

Very colorful writing, Lime. It stirred patriotism in me and I'm sure others.

Very cool!

RennyBA said...

Very touching read Lime! Wishing you a Happy Memorial day:-)

Bridget Jones said...

An especially poignant post, Lime. Thank you.

Jocelyn said...

Oh, my, I just posted about my maternal grandfather, too! You and I have some sort of link going on, fer sure.

Of course, you are eminently more balanced in your rememberance than I in mine, I fear.

And that 55? Soooo good.

Cosima said...

My family's memories stem from the other side of the war your grandfather lived through, and still I can very much identify with your poem and thoughts.

I enjoy reading and listening to personal accounts of history very much, because they show the humanity behind numbers and facts, and the lesson they teach are much more powerful.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful post lime, thank you.

Charles said...

Additionally, I think a soldier's identity has changed a lot in the last several decades and it is harder to be honoured, or understand what one is fighting for, in present day. Tess' grandfather was a Canadian soldier at Vimy Ridge. He rarely talked about his memories, (even though he lived with a piece of shrapnel in his cheek for the rest of his life post-WW2), but was clear - and adamant - that "things had changed" from the Vietnam War onwards.

Great post, Michelle, I am glad I got my eyes fixed!

MyUtopia said...

That was wonderful! Thank you for sharing it with everyone!

Dorky Dad said...

I can't even imagine what soldiers go through, especially the boys who invaded Normandy. Then again, I don't think they would have been able to imagine it before experiencing it, either.