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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.

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Military Humor – 

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

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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

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