Poem for the end of a war

B-29 air raid damage in Hachioji, Japan, 1 Aug. 1945

The End and the Beginning

After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won’t
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the side of the road,
so the corpse-filled wagons
can pass.

GI hooks a tow rope to a Type 97 Te-Ke tank during cleanup of the Okinawa battlefields at the end of WWII in 1945.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone has to drag in a girder
to prop up a wall,
Someone has to glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it’s not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

We’ll need the bridges back,
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.

U.S. and Japanese soldiers collaborate to rebuild Japan

Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls the way it was.
Someone else listens
and nods with unsevered head.
But already there are those nearby
starting to mill about
who will find it dull.

From out of the bushes
sometimes someone still unearths
rusted-out arguments
and carries them to the garbage pile.

Those who knew
what was going on here
must make way for
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.

In the grass that has overgrown
causes and effects,
someone must be stretched out
blade of grass in his mouth
gazing at the clouds.

The author was located by Hilary Custance Green –  it is Wislawa Szymborska.

(Translated from Polish by Joanna Trzeciak)

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

################################################################################################################

Military Humor – 

“WHO SAYS THE NAVY CLEANS UP BETTER THAN THE ARMY?”

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Edward Burst – Cannelton, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. G/511/11th Airborne Division

Francis Flaherty – Charlotte, MI; US Navy, WWII, Ensign, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Tom Freeman – Frostproof, FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radarman, USS Abercrombie

E.H. ‘Jack’ Hoffman – Canton, OH; US Army, WWII, Corps of Engineers

William Long – NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO & CBI, Corpsman, USS Repose & LCI-1092

Robert A. McKee – WI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman, gunboat LCI-70

Donald Hugh Moore – Carrolton, GA; US Navy, (Ret. 34 y.)

Guy Natusch (99) – Hastings, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII, ETO, Sub-Lt.,  / Hawkes Bay architect

Thomas Roycraft – Jacksonville, FL; US Navy, Korea (Ret. 20 y.), USS FDR, Lake Champlain + others

Harold Wagner – Cincinnati, OH; USMC, WWII, PTO

About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on October 7, 2020, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 124 Comments.

  1. Since you support Peace, here you can download a free icon and vector graphic…
    https://gfkdsgn.wordpress.com/2018/11/19/white-dove-of-peace/2/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a find, great poem, thank you for sharing and translating, I do miss Hilary blogging I learn so much from both of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A somber and realistic poem. What comes to my mind are pictures of women and children in Berlin and other German cities clearing the rubble, passing the bricks stones to each other in buckles.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That is a beautiful, timeless poem by Wislawa Szymborska, GP. It is sad that is still true.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. ❤️ Another reason to thank our heroes! ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful poem. Somewhat depressing in its accuracy

    Liked by 1 person

  7. After all, all we need is Peace 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thought provoking poem, just a shame it only makes us think, and world leaders keep on fighting.I know you have to say enough is enough at times, but the bad stuff and the hard work rarely seems to impinge on politicians.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It is heart wrenching! I’ve never seen a war. But imagining my house in a rubble and

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wonderful poem (and love the comic with the floor scrubbing)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A beautiful and stark and sad poem, GP. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow! That was powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A part of the battle that’s easy to forget about – what an amazing poem and tribute to that. Also love the buffer in military humor 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It is the hardest job ever close to the war job. The only difference you have much more chances to save your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Such a moving, yet heartbreaking poem, GP. Thanks for sharing…
    ~Lauren

    Liked by 1 person

  16. In Germany a great deal of the work was done by the Trümmerfrau, the rubble women. They moved the bricks, cobblestones, everything, by hand, in great long chains of individuals. You can find it here……..

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tr%C3%BCmmerfrau

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This is a wonderful poem. She’s quite a writer. I found her about two years ago, and have another of her poems in my files for posting ‘someday.’

    One thing that strikes me about this poem is how applicable it is to many, many situations. It could describe the situation over in Louisiana, that’s for sure. I was talking with someone today about how sad it is that the people left to clean up the messes after fires and hurricanes are essentially ignored. It happens with wars, and it happens with disasters: the cameras leave, and people go on to the next thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you for sharing this poem. It needs to be widely read.

    That second cartoon reminds my of a strange experience when I was teaching a writing course in the School of Music on the Naval Amphibious Base in Norfolk. I was in the middle of a lecture when this kid in utilities enters the classroom with a “green weenie” in his hand and proceeds to get on his hands and knees to scrub what must have been black marks on the floor while we all just sat there and stared at him. After he left, I had the class write about what had just happened. I got some good little essays from that!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Goed gevonden Gp. en inderdaad iemand moet het doen. Opmerkelijk gedicht

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Very moving. Lots of substance. The last two lines are heart-breaking 💔

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Thank you for this “end-of-war” clean up/occupation sermon

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Found it – it is Wislawa Szymborska.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Who is the poet? Is it Tadeusz Różewicz?

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Great choice in poems, GP. It says so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. A bit of wisdom captured to be remembered, G, and sadly to be forgotten. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  26. This poem is very moving, GP. I’m sure a lot of thought was put into the translation as well.
    Thank you for sharing it. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Great post, GP. It certainly goes with the post by e-Quips that you commented on today about the forgotten airplane mechanics. To all the SOMEONES, we owe you a big salute and thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Great poem. It really cuts through all the nonsense in such a beautifully eloquent manner. Truly brilliant!

    Liked by 4 people

  29. It takes years to clean up and rebuild after the war. You would think we have learned some lessons. Nope!

    Liked by 3 people

  30. A powerful antiwar poem, GP!

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Poland suffered terribly during WW2 and that writer got that across so well.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Reblogged this on Janet's Thread 2 and commented:
    Time for reflection

    Liked by 2 people

  33. A great poem. It covers all a war includes, and what has to be done after the war. Always at least a sad situation. Thank you for sharing. GP. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Oh, that poem. Rusted-out arguments. So poignant.

    Liked by 4 people

  35. Such a powerful poem. Do you know the poet? Thank you for posting it.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Reblogged this on e-Quips and commented:
    Some people continue to deny the truth, no matter what war or conflict is being fought. My least favorite group are the Holocaust deniers.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I love this poem, GP. The Holocaust deniers are my personal least favorite category of deniers. 6 million people died and some say it never happened or that the concentration camps were misrepresented. They were for people who were unable to care for themselves. I did not accept a job with a magazine publisher after college because the man that interviewed me made such a fatuous comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Absolutely brilliant. The realities of war, and its aftermath. Reminded me of one by Wilfred Owen about the realities of the first world war. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46560/dulce-et-decorum-est

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Very good poem. Clearly written by someone who knew the truth. Maybe world leaders should read this before giving up on diplomacy.

    Liked by 4 people

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