this diary is dedicated to all who suffer because of war and other disasters
we honor courage in all its forms
we love and support the Iraqi people
we love and support our troops
posted from YearlyKos
image and poem below the fold
American soldiers look over the remains of a home in My Lai, South Vietnam in this Jan. 8, 1970 file photo. The GIs are in a safe area marked off with white tape, having been swept for booby-traps that have already wounded five soldiers since the investigation of the killing of unarmed civilians by members of the U.S. Army; what would come to be called The My Lai Massacre, began. Nearly four decades later, the notorious name of that hamlet – My Lai – has been summoned from memory again, as the U.S. military investigates allegations of mass civilian killings by a group of Marines in the western Iraqi town of Haditha.
A U.S. soldier views damage following an attack on an Iraqi police post in Mosul, April 14, 2006. The military, currently investigating incidents in which American troops are accused of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians, released the training package on Friday of a program on the need to follow legal, moral and ethical standards on the battlefield..
Ode to the Confederate Dead
by Allen Tate
Row after row with strict impunity
The headstones yield their names to the element,
The wind whirrs without recollection;
In the riven troughs the splayed leaves
Pile up, of nature the casual sacrament
To the seasonal eternity of death;
Then driven by the fierce scrutiny
Of heaven to their election in the vast breath,
They sough the rumour of mortality.
Autumn is desolation in the plot
Of a thousand acres where these memories grow
From the inexhaustible bodies that are not
Dead, but feed the grass row after rich row.
Think of the autumns that have come and gone!–
Ambitious November with the humors of the year,
With a particular zeal for every slab,
Staining the uncomfortable angels that rot
On the slabs, a wing chipped here, an arm there:
The brute curiosity of an angel’s stare
Turns you, like them, to stone,
Transforms the heaving air
Till plunged to a heavier world below
You shift your sea-space blindly
Heaving, turning like the blind crab.
Dazed by the wind, only the wind
The leaves flying, plunge
You know who have waited by the wall
The twilight certainty of an animal,
Those midnight restitutions of the blood
You know–the immitigable pines, the smoky frieze
Of the sky, the sudden call: you know the rage,
The cold pool left by the mounting flood,
Of muted Zeno and Parmenides.
You who have waited for the angry resolution
Of those desires that should be yours tomorrow,
You know the unimportant shrift of death
And praise the vision
And praise the arrogant circumstance
Of those who fall
Rank upon rank, hurried beyond decision–
Here by the sagging gate, stopped by the wall.
Seeing, seeing only the leaves
Flying, plunge and expire
Turn your eyes to the immoderate past,
Turn to the inscrutable infantry rising
Demons out of the earth they will not last.
Stonewall, Stonewall, and the sunken fields of hemp,
Shiloh, Antietam, Malvern Hill, Bull Run.
Lost in that orient of the thick and fast
You will curse the setting sun.
Cursing only the leaves crying
Like an old man in a storm
You hear the shout, the crazy hemlocks point
With troubled fingers to the silence which
Smothers you, a mummy, in time.
The hound bitch
Toothless and dying, in a musty cellar
Hears the wind only.
Now that the salt of their blood
Stiffens the saltier oblivion of the sea,
Seals the malignant purity of the flood,
What shall we who count our days and bow
Our heads with a commemorial woe
In the ribboned coats of grim felicity,
What shall we say of the bones, unclean,
Whose verdurous anonymity will grow?
The ragged arms, the ragged heads and eyes
Lost in these acres of the insane green?
The gray lean spiders come, they come and go;
In a tangle of willows without light
The singular screech-owl’s tight
Invisible lyric seeds the mind
With the furious murmur of their chivalry.
We shall say only the leaves
Flying, plunge and expire
We shall say only the leaves whispering
In the improbable mist of nightfall
That flies on multiple wing:
Night is the beginning and the end
And in between the ends of distraction
Waits mute speculation, the patient curse
That stones the eyes, or like the jaguar leaps
For his own image in a jungle pool, his victim.
What shall we say who have knowledge
Carried to the heart? Shall we take the act
To the grave? Shall we, more hopeful, set up the grave
In the house? The ravenous grave?
The shut gate and the decomposing wall:
The gentle serpent, green in the mulberry bush,
Riots with his tongue through the hush–
Sentinel of the grave who counts us all!
– – –
a personal note: I’m getting ready to join in Pastor Dan’s service this morning, and can’t even begin to describe the flood of emotions I’ve felt, and feel right now, after being here these past several days. I`ve got memories and mental images, snippets of recalled conversations and encounters, and lots of cards, notes, and bits of swag that’ll keep this event alive in my heart for a long, long time.
But the piece that I just want to add here is this – in the spirit of what this diary series is all about, we love and support our troops, just as we love and support the Iraqi people.
I’ll try and compose an entry later about the urinal conversation I had with a Navy man, who’s in his13th year of service, that led to this statement; and about some strong and vulnerable people who need all of us, just as we all need them.
But for now, let’s just hold that thought in our hearts – we love and support our troops, just as we love and support the Iraqi people – without exception, or precondition, or judgement.
My heart is full.
Thanks, Jerry = RubDMC
– – –
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read This is what John Kerry did today, the diary by lawnorder that prompted this series
read Riverbend’s Bagdhad Burning
read Dahr Jamail’s Iraq Dispatches
read Today in Iraq
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