This is a poem about my Grandfather. He was a paratrooper in WWII and dropped into Normandy on D-Day as well as Holland. He wasn’t in Easy Company, but he told me that Band of Brothers is as close as you can get to experiencing what he experienced. In Normandy, he actually ended up being dropped on the wrong side of enemy lines and was trapped in a foxhole for days.
On one of his jumps he got shot in the toe. It always blows my mind that had that soldier that fired that bullet aimed one-one hundredth of a millimeter the other way, it might have hit him in a more fatal spot, and he and my Grandmother wouldn’t have adopted my mom, which means I wouldn’t be here. I tried to work some of these stories of his life into the work.
The similes used in the poem are built to work in relation to both the line before and after it. That is something I’ve never done before and really enjoyed the challenge of it.
I found out last week that the cancer Daddo (what we call my Grandfather) had last fall has come back. This time in his liver. He has elected to forego chemo and radiation and live out his last days on his terms. I respect him tremendously for that. The poem is about how even when we survive life-and-death situations, it is only delaying the inevitable. Someday we will all have to look back and reflect on our lives and what we see in our reflection will be how we choose face our death– either in fear or peace.
My first instinct was to choose a different poem to post for this week because I thought this one might seem a little heavy. But then I remembered that the purpose of Lazy Saturday poetry was to try and display how poetry is not just a hobby, it’s a way in which some of us (the poets of the world) can process and understand life. I also think this is a poem a lot of people can somewhat relate to, not to mention I think our culture needs to value deep (dare I say even heavy) thinking more than it does.
like a boy with a bow and arrow
in the tree patch huntin’ Satan
and hit a sparrow
a special providence warns of scarecrows
like the flooded cells in my Grandfathers liver
the Nazis couldn’t gun him down
the hospice check delivers
a sense of inescapable shivers
like the pain that comes from smoking in the cold
i puff and ponder him at War all the time
dangling in the sky
pleading God to grow old
a chance slim as the splinter from a soul
like a bullet in the toe but not in the head
ballistic logistics only God could have scripted
or buying breaths
a feeling of debt he cannot express
like a blackjack addict with dementia
the right choices he forgot to make
in the middle of a minefield
a purpose in life he cannot place a bet on
like soldiers casting lots on Friday
Father forgive him
a good man
that saw bad days
a company as easy as the grave