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2014, Aaron Elson

   

Gleaming Heart and Burnished Star

(A villanelle for my father, Thaddeus Anthony Biesiada)

2003, JoAnne White-Gottlieb

By JoAnne White-Gottlieb

Your soul, unscathed by war, soaring, left this plane on that hard-rain day      (You did not mean to go.)                                                                         Your body, pierced by mortar, failing, stayed to drain its blood, decay.

Your last act was above and beyond. Letters and articles say                         You went to direct the show!                                                                        Your soul, unscathed by war, soaring, left this plane on that mud-drenched day.

Your body lay three days, in a hole. When you died, no one could say.              You felt your heartbeat slow…                                                                        Your flesh, pierced by mortar, sizzling, stayed to drain its blood, then decay.

Your death was, clearly, a hero’s death. Medals and flag came our way             (You sent me them, I know).                                                                      Your soul, unscathed by war, soaring, left this plane on that rain-soaked day.

Your father, mother, sisters, child and wife led lives of disarray.                         Stunned, we failed to grow.                                                                          Your body, pierced by mortar, failing, stayed to drain its blood, decay.

Your mother brought your body back. In family arms and plot, you lay.           You rest, sun, sleet or snow.                                                                          Your soul, unscathed by war, soaring, left this plane on that hard-rain day          Your body, pierced by mortar, failing, stayed to drain its blood, decay.

   JoAnne White-Gottlieb's father died when she was two and a half years old, in May of 1945. He was a radio operator on Okinawa and was killed by mortar as he attempted to find direction for the men he was with. He died on or around 25th of May, but the battle before the taking of Shuri castle was so intense that no one could reach him for three days. He was an only son, and she, his only child.

                                                                           e-mail JoAnne White-Gottlieb

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