This Poem was Submitted By: Wanda S. Thibodeaux On Date: 2015-10-16 11:13:37 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Excerpt From a War

Roused from their cocoon of sleep, the town of Dewlings woke to bells resounding over and over again as if the stroker had lost count. Long, wool coat topped a flannel gown heavy belt tied at the waist. Prodding the boys, "Hurry, it's freezing outside, pull your trousers over your pajamas. Their dad belonged to the Navy now. Seventeen months since an officer had knocked, stood beside his chair while he signed draft papers, then swept him away quickly in their official black sedan. Left with three small sons, no money, and the cold winters of Tennessee, his short letters, tense and irregular, stayed on her mind long after being read.      "My darling...      Will try to write, let you know I am alive, not well.      Honey, I have boils all over my body,      they hurt so bad, I had to have one cut open today.      We have been in battle more than once,      first invasion was in the Moratio Islands,      from there, Leyte Gulf and on to the Lengayin Gulf.      I have seen more than I ever want to see again.      Honey, when those Jap planes come out,      they don't play, they mean business,      but I haven't seen any come out and go back to Japan,      somehow, their motors stop running      and of course, they fall.      I have to go, sweetheart, be good and kiss all       my babies. Until we meet again, my darling. And now in the darkest of night,  she walked with neighbors to the church, in a parade of winter coats over random splashes of nightwear. Every house, emptying into the street, as together, under a starless sky, they found great strength in this alignment  of human spirits.  America was at war! Their small church swelled in silence. A town in waiting, Pastor John was the first to speak. "My own John David was killed last Sunday." He wept as he held up his arms, "the list is here." By candlelight, the news was shared. Many came forward to tell of their losses, sons who had been on their way home, whose journey had been redirected. Futures changed forever, father's who would become hero's, children, born while father's were away, left with only a photograph to hold. As these surreal moments passed, the reading finished, her heart believed, rejoiced, released from the confines of fear, his name was not written there. Outside the steeple rose, piercing the fog. Heaven appeared to be opening slightly. The sun will rise again soon, my friends. Praise the Lord! And may God bless America again.

Copyright © October 2015 Wanda S. Thibodeaux

Additional Notes:
Previously published on the Allpoetry website. The letter is an actual letter received from my father, March 12, 1945. He was aboard the NSS Edmonds, D E. 406. He saw many more battles than the ones mentioned here but they were limited on time when they wrote letters and so in order to tell my mother all he wanted to, he had to keep trying to write. The story of the walk to the church was told to me by my mother. It was true also. A very tense and sad time in American history.

This Poem was Critiqued By: charles r pitts On Date: 2015-10-25 01:39:43
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Usually war stories are told from the soldiers' perspectives--and though this one contains a glimpse into some of what your father went through, the real story here (and the kind that often doesn't get told) is from the view of those left behind. How old were you during this I wonder? How horrible it must have been and what a long walk indeed to get to that church--knowing that if your father's name wasn't called, someone else's would. You would probably know the names called or at least know of the family. Then to watch their sorrows and probably feeling guilt that inside you could feel some joy (though made hollow) in the face of another's tragedy. Thanks for sharing something so personal. Nicely written. my favorite stanza: Futures changed forever, father's who would become hero's, children, born while father's were away, left with only a photograph to hold. so subtle yet so graphic.

This Poem was Critiqued By: Lora Silvey On Date: 2015-10-23 16:00:03
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.20000
Wow Wanda, what an industrious but accomplished undertaking. You capture your reader from the start and have no problem holding their attention as they move easily through your lines. This brought the reader right to the fore of the story/action. Your well chosen verbiage lends a true authenticity to the events depicted. Kudos on a superb always, Lora
This Poem was Critiqued By: DeniMari Z. On Date: 2015-10-17 10:58:43
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Thank you so much for sharing this with us. From start to finish it captures the readers attention, with such vivid imagery and emotion with the depiction of what life was like in these times. I would never imagined this to be a letter and think how sad a time in history where men, women and children were exposed to things that had never imagined in their lifetime - Very well written and left an impact on me - a personal impact because my own father was career Army; joining at the age of 17 who went on to become a medic helping to heal the injured in Korea - I am humbled by your poetic touch, as there by the grace of God go I, and anyone whose life has been impacted by War. on my list, blessings, Deni
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joe Gustin On Date: 2015-10-16 15:47:17
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
IT.S SO VERY NICE TO SEE YOUR BACK. This work is easy to follow and rivets the reader to the story your conveying. My Dad was in the war as well. In Europe. My mum was in England and went through the blitz. So your poem has a similar feel. The way you weave the work together with the letter and your mom,s story is the real prize of this effort. Thank you for posting
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