dVerse Poets Pub and NaPoWriMo14

copyright kansakura

copyright kansakura

The prompt today is from dVerse Poets Pub is “brother”.  The prompt for NaPoWriMo14 is conversation. I have combined the two.  In this conversation, my father speaks to us and to me. He is the young, cocky kid on the left. Deceptively slow moving and good natured, he won awards for his marksmanship – he was a sniper. He rarely spoke of WWII and never spoke of Gypsy and Pete without weeping.

“…We few, we happy few, we band of brothers, For he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother…”
William Shakespeare “Henry V”

魂の兄弟魂の兄弟 – Tamashī no kyōdai – Brothers of the Soul
Who could tell our future
that day in Paris,my 21st birthday .
Standing beside the two of you,
Gypsy and Pete,
Looking into the camera
smiling, assured.
We trained together
and survived Omaha Beach –
When one fell,
The other two would reach down to
raise him up,
Our guns blazing,
Muzzles hot to the touch
and smells of the ocean,
Of blood, of human waste, of death
all around us.
The three of us pushing our way to safety –
Stepping over bodies
and slipping on puddles of blood
on the sand,
and sleeping that night
entwined like puppies
at peace after a day of romp.
Would we have wanted to look
into the future on my birthday
and know that within two weeks
Gypsy and Pete would die.
That I would die at 60 –
My heart exploding in my chest
and sending deadly shrapnel
throughout my body
to kill me within minutes.
That day years ago
the two of you died,
My heart broke within me.
My brothers,
more dear than those left behind
in that small town,
on that poor farm
in Virginia.
that since that day,
Only at the birth of my daughter
would there be someone I would love as much.

43 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mary
    Apr 14, 2015 @ 17:32:54

    What a moving poem this is, Toni. I do understand the kind of brotherhood your father had with Gypsy and Pete. You have portrayed well the kind of comradeship they shared in wartime, the extreme sadness when the two died. This is brother love at its highest. A love of a father for a daughter is a high love too…of a different kind. (I really appreciated this glimpse!)


    • kanzensakura
      Apr 14, 2015 @ 17:38:15

      I am pleased when people who know me say I have my father’s smile. There was another incident in this time I will probably end up writing about. he only told me the story once, about a young man he saw for only a few moments, but who became a brother as well.


  2. Grace
    Apr 14, 2015 @ 17:35:19

    Very moving personal share ~ The bond of brotherhood during war is an enduring one, even after the war has ended ~ I am happy to read the ending, the happy news of the daughter’s birth ~ Thanks for sharing ~


  3. Jennifer Wagner
    Apr 14, 2015 @ 17:38:48

    A riveting read from start to finish. Those in the military form a special bond, especially when entrusting one another with their very lives. My husband was a Marine and now as a Firefighter he has similar bonds with those he refers to as his “brothers.” You nailed the theme. Enjoyed the photo you’ve shared as well.


  4. Gabriella
    Apr 14, 2015 @ 18:03:55

    This is a very touching poem, Toni. I am sure that wars forged a kind of brotherhood that is hard to imagine for us now, especially when you have ‘survived Omaha Beach ‘. I also liked the closing lines.


  5. Glenn Buttkus
    Apr 14, 2015 @ 18:27:50

    I’ve always loved that HENRY V quote, & the HBO series was groundbreaking too. Yes, like when reading Brian Turner’s HERE BULLET, we can truly understand the human responses to the cauldron of war when interpreted by a poet; add to that this is your father’s voice & that iconic WWII photo, & pow, it’s a punch to the guts, a tug at the heart; very nice work.


    • kanzensakura
      Apr 14, 2015 @ 19:10:28

      Thank you. Henry V is one of my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays. I wish my father could have lived to see the HBO series, but then again, he may not have been able to watch. A very tender hearted man. He refused his Bronze Star and said that until every man in his unit was nominated for one, he would not take it. I love this photo of my father with his two friends, to look at it and say, this day, this band of brothers….


  6. The Course of Our Seasons
    Apr 14, 2015 @ 20:52:36

    Such a beautiful poem of your father and his brothers in arms – thank you for sharing his story with us – and I’m sorry for your loss. My father died very young too – and is missed everyday.


  7. Bryan Ens
    Apr 14, 2015 @ 22:07:45

    I can only imagine the bonds of brotherhood that would develop between comrades at arms, and how tragic the loss of those brothers would be. I suspect that there are a lot of veterans who would rather not re-live those days.


  8. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Apr 15, 2015 @ 00:50:22

    I think facing death together creates a bond that is stronger than anything else except you have except maybe your own family. What a wonderful story to share, and such great point of view. Thank you for sharing this.


  9. Sumana Roy
    Apr 15, 2015 @ 01:32:39

    thanks for this wonderful share…brothers of the soul indeed…


  10. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Apr 15, 2015 @ 06:55:01

    I cannot imagine war, nor the horror involved. Having close companions might give one strength to withstand the chaos, but then, to be left alone again, sheer heartbreak.
    This ripped my heart out and made me cry. ❤ ❤ ❤


  11. macjam47
    Apr 15, 2015 @ 07:07:34

    Extraordinarily beautiful poem. Love it. Hugs to you.


  12. billgncs
    Apr 15, 2015 @ 10:08:42

    My dad too was at Omaha beach, we visited there two years ago – if you haven’t gone, put it on your life list. In Dad’s Higgens boat, of the 49 men he was the only one who made it to shore. His best friend drowned. He carried survivor’s guilt the rest of his days.


    • kanzensakura
      Apr 15, 2015 @ 10:19:31

      My parents had planned to go meet some folks but the trip was cancelled due to my father’s death. Papa said you could walk on the bodies floating in the water. I have been alone to visit since Papa’s death. It amazes me the three of them made it together. The ocean and beach, one enormous kill box.


      • billgncs
        Apr 15, 2015 @ 10:23:37

        You helped heal your father. That is beautiful.

        Visiting Normandy was good for my soul. it really helped my sister as well.


        • kanzensakura
          Apr 15, 2015 @ 14:04:27

          I was interested in see the place my father rarely spoke of but of which I heard so much in history. I found it a sad place, so full of the past.


          • billgncs
            Apr 15, 2015 @ 16:04:06

            so you went ?


            • kanzensakura
              Apr 15, 2015 @ 17:34:46

              Yes. on the anniversary of my father’s death.


              • billgncs
                Apr 15, 2015 @ 18:01:46

                good for you. Our tour guide, an amazing Brit took us to a house and garden. In this garden, the British were pinned down by a machine gun. Their captain peeked around a gate opening in a wall, and the bullets knocked chips of cement into him. He circled around and tried to cut through a house, and found a 10 year old boy huddled in the corner. He ran back and crawled through a rhubarb patch, jumped up and took out the machine gun. ( Victoria Cross ) – there was an old man puttering around the garden. it was the boy who so long ago had been huddled in the house.


                • kanzensakura
                  Apr 15, 2015 @ 20:12:23

                  That is incredible. I do like these true amazing stories. I simply went. I had no tour guide. I was doing a “drive about” in France and decided to go when I realized the date. A group there invited me to join them when they heard my southern accent. Very kind of them. No one knew my father as none of the group was attached to his unit. That was fine. it was good to see these old surviving friends reuniting. God bless all of our veterans.


  13. Sarah
    Apr 15, 2015 @ 14:13:04

    Very powerful and poignant.


  14. M
    Apr 16, 2015 @ 01:01:05

    moving, authentic, and illuminating. you’ve honored these brothers ~


  15. mishunderstood
    Apr 16, 2015 @ 01:31:19

    You already had me with the photo and introduction. As you shared the realities of war, you have honoured these three men (and “brothers”) so gracefully.


    • kanzensakura
      Apr 16, 2015 @ 11:46:24

      I thank you so much. The love my father had for his brothers lasted until his death. I like to think of the three of them together spinning yarns, laughing together.


  16. 5h2o
    Apr 18, 2015 @ 12:09:32

    So very, very powerful. Thank you for sharing this.


Thank you for reading! I try to reciprocate all comments. If you want me to visit a particular post, please direct me directly to that post.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: