©2001, Tim Dyas, CT Press
505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Tim Dyas, a former paratrooper and prisoner of war, recently published his first book of poetry. It is available directly from the poet for $14, and is highly recommended by the World War II Oral History web site. To order, send a check or money order for $14, which includes shipping, made out to Tim Dyas, and send it to: CT Press/ PO Box 1354/ Ridgewood, N.J. 07451-1354. Allow two weeks for shipping.
At the Rail
Night on a convoyed ship carrying
men to Hell
And two talked by the rail
As to their destinies
One certain to return,
Now in Grave of Honor
While the other, now aging
Remembers his doubts and,
Always the other.
9 July 43
The ugly vibrations of the C47's engines were everywhere
As we sat huddled in the fear and the darkness
Wrapped in layers of weapons, grenades, and ammo
Waiting for the command that would
Bring us closer to the enemy below.
Our silence as soldiers was emphasized
By the grim sounds of war that were coming closer
And made each of us burrow deeper into our fears.
God, but it was great to move our stiffened bodies
As we hooked our pack's hook to the
Cables that ran the length of our deliverer
And stand up as soldiers in our wildly bucking plane
Now we could see more clearly the sights of the war
That came alongside the plane's windows
And added much to the heavy burdens
We strapped on our backs in the African twilight.
At last the damned waiting was over
As we literally exploded out the narrow doorway
So eager to get the hell out of that waiting agony
As we snapped into so many mushrooms in the sky
Whose darkness was lit by tracers and flares
We were each as deadly in our small, self-contained way
As the later-to-be A-bomb that hit Japan
As the 505 smashed into the rocky hills of Sicily!
No command this but the destination of all who jumped
Out of the now soon-to-burn mass of metal that hit the hill
The craggy mountains met our bodies all too soon
As but one swing under opened 'chute ended in a thud
That too oft meant smashed body and stunned mind
While the sounds of the air war overhead faded
The battle we'd joined grew in intensity
As we drove our battered bodies into it and victory!
A Small Engagement
Grenades, American and German
were lobbed back and forth,
Some landing near the bodies
lying on a hill
While two bazookaed tanks lay
burning on the road below
And, atop the hill, others ground
gears in frustration
As they recoiled from fire at
But couldn't depress guns to reach
those hugging the hillside.
Eventually, and a lifetime to those
throwing grenades upward,
A column of tanks came past the
And swung their gun barrels to cover
the hillside's men
And it was over with precious