At the American Cemetery in Normandy: Looking to the Ocean by Michele Buchanan 2010

My second poem, entitled “At the American Cemetery in Normandy: Looking to the Ocean”, is a reflection on walking around the American Cemetery in Normandy and trying to imagine Omaha Beach on D-Day and what it would feel like to experience that battle as a soldier. It is also about the importance of remembering the young soldiers who died for their country and for the good of the greater world:

A tree stands near the edge

with miniature crosses and stones like uneven teeth

in its open-mouthed knot,

singing songs of remembrance

 

for a boy in uniform

lying on Omaha beach,

his face made of soft curves,

not Roman angles and cheekbones.

 

Below the cliff,

the ocean’s turquoise locks crash

white on the shoulders

of the beachhead.

 

His body is caressed

by the wet blue strands of the Atlantic,

with thousands of his brothers next to him,

like heavy stones on the shoulders of France.

Although I don’t know anyone who was directly involved in World War II, learning about the experiences of the soldiers, citizens, and societies of the era, as well as following the path of General Patton made me feel a small part of the sorrow and horror of war. Reading the poetry of the era inspired me to perpetuate the human act of writing poetry.

 

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