U.S. soldiers in the Pacific during World War II‘Soldier’s Son’ by Robert Piazza The Society April 5, 2018 Culture, Poetry 20 Comments Leatherneck, you’re still my childhood hero With tales of firing flack at Jap Zeroes— After training camp in San Diego, You rode the railway home on furlough To elope with Rita in the Poconos. The coalmine cars filled up with snow. You only had a month before you had to go To Saipan. You learned to translate Navajo So Japs couldn’t tap your radio. There’s so much about you I’ll never know— On Saipan’s beach, your body decomposed. Every June, I plant another rose; But something makes it die. It never grows. It cannot put down roots, I suppose. Robert Piazza studied literature and creative writing at Boston College and the Bread Loaf School of English where he served on the editorial board of Stylus and won Honorable Mention in the 2004 Robert Haiduke Poetry Prize, respectively. One of his poems appears in the Spring 2017 Issue of Lyric magazine, and another poem is now published in Haiku Journal, Issue 56. Two more poems are currently accepted for preliminary consideration by Time of Singing: A Journal of Christian Poetry. An accomplished guitarist and outdoors enthusiast, he has been teaching English at private schools for twenty-four years. Currently he lives in rural Northwest Connecticut with his wife and two teenaged children. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related 20 Responses Leo Yankevich April 5, 2018 This is well-executed. Bravo! Reply VICTORY April 5, 2018 WELL DONE Reply E. V. "Beth" Wyler April 5, 2018 “Soldier’s Son” honors your “childhood hero”. May he rest in peace. Thank you for sharing this great poem with us. Reply Ed "Bear" C. U. Lewis April 5, 2018 Reminiscent of mid-20th century poet Randall Jarrell’s poetry, Mr. Piazza’s sonnet “Soldier’s Son,” is a lively rendition, partially because of its freewheeling metric. He opens with a trochaic pentametre, and continues with metric “violations” throughout, actually not unlike many writers @ SCP. But his poem strikes with more force. Part of the power of his sonnet comes from its topic, the singularity of the rhymes, the clipped metre, the crisp sentences, the refreshing diction, and the matter-of-fact tone. Notice also Mr. Piazza’s roses differ markedly from Mr. Gosselin’s rose. Reply Robert Piazza April 6, 2018 I am humbled & honored by your reference to Randall Jarrell, one of my top-10 favorite poets of all time. In my opinion, his poem “Death of the Ball-Turret Gunner” is the most powerful WWII poem ever written. I have read & taught Jarrell’s poem dozens of times, and it continues to grip me. Reply SARAHLEAH HANKES April 9, 2018 This poem is SOOOO moving. It made me cry. I cannot remember when ANY poem in my long life has ever evoked this kind of emotional response. I was alive during world war two. My favorite uncle Frank died in it. This is a bitter sweet reminder of the loves lost and the hero’s welcomed home. Maryann Elizabeth Tate April 5, 2018 Poignant and expressive prose. So enjoyed reading this. Reply David Hollywood April 6, 2018 Very contemplative and moving. Thank you Reply Roberta Patten April 6, 2018 Every line brought back WWII to me. I loved the fact that it brought back my childhood feelings growing up with many family members serving in both the Atlantic and the Pacific theaters of that war. It was a bittersweet memory. Thank you Rob. Reply SARAHLEAH HANKES April 9, 2018 This poem is SOOOO moving. It made me cry. I cannot remember when ANY poem in my long life has ever evoked this kind of emotional response. I was alive during world war two. My favorite uncle Frank died in it. This is a bitter sweet reminder of the loves lost and the hero’s welcomed home. Reply David Nee April 6, 2018 Congratulations, Rob Piazza. A highly evocative gen, with an abrupt shift at the end. Reply Joel April 6, 2018 A beautiful poem that moves through time in clear, direct, moving language and ends with an question. Reply Tony Sherer April 8, 2018 Robert is clearly a powerful emerging voice in American verse. If you haven’t read is other stuff, do so. We will be hearing a lot more from this guy. Reply Sari April 8, 2018 Chilling with incredible depth. I could feel the joy, hope and sadness throughout the reflection. The last line about the inability of the flowers to prosper and thrive is a quite profound given the nature of this piece. Reply Lisa B April 8, 2018 Talented poet look forward to reading more of your work. Reply Sue P April 8, 2018 Wonderful poem! Reply Alexander Neuschotz April 9, 2018 I love the parralel between the short life of the soldier and that of the Rose, both admired in their prime, but soon “decomposed.” Reply Robert Piazza April 14, 2018 Thank you for your insightful interpretation. I really appreciate your feedback! Reply Ken S. April 9, 2018 Congratulations Rob on the publication of such a moving tribute to the WW II soldiers who did not make it home. The stark contrast between the image of the young soldier with his new bride in the Poconos and his decomposed body on a beach in Saipan evoked raw emotion as I read it. Having just recently lost my father, a WWII veteran, I could not help but be grateful he made it home. Thank you for sharing your gift Rob! Reply William McCarthy April 13, 2018 Nice Job Rob, do I detect a little John Prine there as well? Reply Leave a Reply to Sue P Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.