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Poetry At Greenville

Laurence J. Sasso, Jr.  

 

In Their Memory

 

We know their faces and their names

they left in April

apple blossoms sticking

to their cheeks,

sons and daughters,

orphans, nephews, uncles, fathers,

we know their faces and their names

 

They left in darkness or at dawn,

mud from the fields on their boots

 

They put down their tools,

closed up cabins on the lake,

left offices or classrooms,

looms at the woolen mill

 

In winter, fall, and summer,

they answered the call

leaving in twos and threes

or all alone at noon

 

Left for the orchards of France

or the black volcanic sand of IwoJima,

the Meuse-Argonne, Da Nang, Incllon, Belleau Wood,

the Persian Gulf, Okinawa, Somalia, Afghanistan

 

Stars went up in windows

mothers waited, friends, lovers

wrote letters, went to work, worried

sat in pews on Sunday, praying

 

More went off to other shores

to the oceans, to the jungle,

to the desert, or the frozen forests

under the colors of their country, their command

 

And after months and years they came home,

some to bands and music, parades and cheering,

flags, the family, neighbors,

and some came back alone,

their brothers forever in the hedgerows,

the dirt, the sea, the beaches of places far away.

 

And when tomorrow comes, tomorrow and tomorrow,

more will join the ranks, put on the uniform, and go,

and more and more will say good-bye, give us their love,

put on the uniform, and go.

 

Laurence J. Sasso, Jr.

November 11, 2001