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"Letter to Simic from Boulder"
Richard Hugo

Dear Charles: And so we meet once in San Francisco and I learn
I bombed you long ago in Belgrade when you were five.
I remember. We were after a bridge on the Danube
hoping to cut the German armies off as they fled north
from Greece. We missed. Not unusual, considering I
was one of the bombardiers. I couldn't hit my ass if
I sat on the Norden or rode a bomb down singing
The Star Spangled Banner. I remember Belgrade opened
like a rose when we came in. Not much flak. I didn't know
about the daily hangings, the 80,000 Slavs who dangled
from German ropes in the city, lessons to the rest.
I was interested mainly in staying alive, that moment
the plane jumped free from the weight of bombs and we went home.
What did you speak then? Serb, I suppose. And what did your mind
do with the terrible howl of bombs? What is Serb for "fear"?
It must be the same as in English, one long primitive wail
of dying children, one child fixed forever in dead stare.
I don't apologize for the war, or what I was. I was
willingly confused by the times. I think I even believed
in heroics (for others, not for me). I believed the necessity
of that suffering world, hoping it would learn not to do
it again. But I was young. The world never learns. History
has a way of making the past palatable, the dead
a dream. Dear Charles, I'm glad you avoided the bombs, that you
live with us now and write poems. I must tell you though,
I felt funny that day in San Francisco. I kept saying
to myself, he was on the ground that day, the sky
eerie mustard and our engines roaring everything
out of the way. And the world comes clean in moments
like that for survivors. The world comes clean as clouds
in summer, the pure puffed white, soft birds careening
in and out, our lives with a chance to drift on slow
over the world, our bomb bays empty, the target forgotten,
the enemy ignored. Nice to meet you finally after
all the mindless hate. Next time, if you want to be sure
you survive, sit on the bridge I'm trying to hit and wave.
I'm coming in on course but nervous and my cross hairs flutter.
Wherever you are on earth, you are safe. I'm aiming but
my bombs are candy and I've lost the lead plane. Your friend, Dick.


you’ve walked across/two continents but the moon still refuses to leave you.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
versipellis
May. 30th, 2013 04:51 pm (UTC)
Wow... thanks for all the war poems, I think they're all really thought-provoking (and I know other people who will like them too)!
exceptindreams
Jun. 1st, 2013 03:48 am (UTC)
I thought they were too. And with Memorial Day in the U.S., I thought it was an appropriate time to have a themed week.
thisisthesmile
May. 31st, 2013 12:45 am (UTC)
Yes, thank you for all of the war poems. They were all perfect, even if I got to them a little too late for Memorial Day. And as strange as it sounds, I'm glad to have more war poetry to add to my tiny collection. I don't have nearly enough. :)

On a side note, thank you for continuing this blog even after running away to tumblr. I'm sorry I don't comment on the poems even though I keep reading them and bookmarking them, but I'm lazy and don't know what to say anyway. I just want you to know that I do come back to catch up to it every couple days, and am glad for the poetry during the school year when I keep getting bogged down with ALL THE SCIENCE. <3
buymeaclue
May. 31st, 2013 01:28 am (UTC)
This evening, looked up yet another poem I found here and remembered and wanted to share. Thank you for what you do.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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exceptindreams
a poem some days

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