|By Ted Kooser, US Poet Laureate, 2004-06
In celebration of Veteran's Day, here is a telling poem by Gary Dop, a Minnesota poet. The veterans of World War II, now old, are dying by the thousands. Here's one still with us, standing at Normandy, remembering.
In Normandy, at Point Du Hoc,
where some Rangers died,20 feet closer to the edge than us,
asking if I could see
the medal the man held
like a rosary.
As we approached the cliff
the man's swearing, each bulleted
syllable, sifted back
toward us in the ocean wind.
I turned away,
but my shoulder was held still
by my father's hand,
and I looked up at him
as he looked at the man.
American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c)2007 by Gary Dop. Reprinted from Whistling Shade, Summer, 2007, by permission of Gary Dop. Introduction copyright (c) 2008 by The Poetry Foundation. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.
For another two poems suitable for Veteran's Day, go here and here.