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Barbed Words of War

2001, Tim Dyas, CT Press

Tim Dyas

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

                "Stand Up"!

                      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.


                "Hook Up"!

                      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

                    distant targets

                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

                    burning wrecks

                And swung their gun barrels to cover

                    the hillside's men

                And it was over with precious

                    time gained


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