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With Coffins at the Dover Air Force Base: 29 August 2021

On Sunday, Biden traveled to the Dover Air Force Base
to pay respect for thirteen service members who were slain.
But grieving parents of the dead were not consoled by him—
he kept on looking at his watch—and not so much at them.
One thought his empathy but hollow, disrespectful stares.
He chatted more about his own dead son than he did theirs.
They were owed more than they received; they still are owed a debt…
of gratitude, oh, those brave souls, we should not soon forget.
Go, stranger, tell your people these unfortunate ones tried:
obedient to shallow leaders, still they went, and died.

David L. Espinoza, 20;
Rylee J. McCollum, 20;
Dylan R. Merola, 20;
Kareem M. Nikoui, 20;
Jared M. Schmitz, 22;
Hunter Lopez, 22;
Umberto A. Sanchez, 22;
Max W. Soviak, 22;
Nicole L. Gee, 23;
Ryan C. Knauss, 23;
Daegan W. Page, 23;
Johanny Rosariopichardo, 25;
Darin T. Hoover, 31.

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Bruce Dale Wise is a poet currently residing in Texas. 


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20 Responses

    • BDW

      When I was young, my fav’rite US state was Michigan.
      No more. Those days are gone. Still glad to hear from Erlandson.

      Reply
  1. Cheryl Corey

    A heartfelt tribute. Their names and stories should be kept front and center, not like Pelosi, who blocked the reading of their names in Congress.

    Reply
    • BDW

      Thanks for the comment and the factoid from Connecticut.
      I do appreciate such coral-cherry etiquette.

      Reply
    • BDW

      When young, I dreamed of England’s deep green sleeves, and Robin Hood.
      Not now. Yet glad to hear a voice found near Peak District’s wood.

      Reply
      • Jeff Eardley

        To search for proof of Robin Hood, if e’er you have a mind.
        The thigh-bone of bold Little John, in Hathersage you’ll find.

      • BDW

        One of my favourite television series of the late 1950s was “The Adventures of Robin Hood” with Richard Greene, et alia. In 2020, during the Chinese covid shut-down, I appreciated riding my bicycle along the many tree-filled streets of my particular part of the Metroplex, exploring streets I rarely go down, including Nottingham, Sherwood, Robin, Locksley, Maid Marion, Alan-a-Dale, Friar Tuck, etc.

  2. Margaret Coats

    “The thanks of a grateful nation” are presented with the flag at every military funeral, usually by a low-ranking soldier, sailor, or airman. Now at thirteen funerals someone will need to make reparation for a putative commander in chief who could not focus on duty even for a few minutes. Thanks for doing your part, Bruce.

    Reply
    • BDW

      as per “Wired Clues” Abe,
      Of the many haikus entered in the haiku contest, the one that most deeply touched me was that by Patricia A. Marsh.

      midnight fog hovers
      in the gap between mountains
      where old lovers dream

      Of the various haiku charichords that follow me around, “Wired Clues” Abe is the poet who has been most influenced by the Modernist New Rising haiku, for example, writers such as Saito Sanki (1900-1962); though, since first writing haiku at the age of 15, without exception, all my haiku (5-7-5 syllables), and tanka (5-7-5-7-7 syllables) have conformed to those structures. I realize such structures were anathema to many of the Modernist New Rising Haiku writers (and, to a certain degree, don’t even make sense in English). As Mr. Toshiki Kawagoe noted, even today some groups practice “haiku with no seasonal reference”, which is a rarity for me.

      Ms. Coats has done a fine job in judging the hundreds of haiku that passed through her reading eyes—not an easy task—since so many of them contained superb qualities within. As to the haiku she chose of mine, that Mr. Pietrack appreciated, it was written in the voice of “Wired Clues” Abe, a decidedly NewMillennialist; and of the three haiku the one least influenced by previous writers…other than loosely, a boy in a backyard swimming pool as opposed to a frog in a pond.

      Reply
    • Margaret Coats

      Bruce, just noticed your reply to me here. There were indeed many fine haiku in the competition. With regard to the “Modernist New Rising Haiku” style, I am glad to say that in Japan, traditional haiku are still in a strong position, and many people including professionally recognized poets write them. Much of what is called “free verse” there might be considered formal here; it is simply longer than the older Japanese forms. However, haiku in English have mostly gone to modernist modes–and in English that means shorter lines. The excuse is that since Japanese count long vowels as two syllables, we don’t need as many syllables as they use for haiku with the same amount of meaning. However, I have seen many an English “haiku” with no apparent meaning at all. That takes strenuous cultivation of nonsense. As for the number of syllables making sense, I don’t think there’s any real reason in either language to adopt 5-7-5. It’s simply a longstanding convention, except for the undeniable proportionality. But when “authorities” start telling writers not to use adjectives and to avoid metaphor, this is far away from haiku tradition. It is modernist cant. I have seen one place where the English poem must have NO seasonal reference; in fact, writers are told to use kigo lists to scrub any inadvertent season word from their poems! If you want real freedom, use the form rather than adhere to a tyrant.

      Reply
  3. Joe Tessitore

    Thank you, Bruce.
    I was especially moved by their ages.
    Thank you for posting them.

    Reply
    • BDW

      O, yes, the ages of these dead are quite significant;
      and so much more; a little poem, like this, just can’t get it.

      Reply
    • BDW

      On 26 August 2021, ISIS-K attacked Kabul Airport, killing at least 182 people, including 13 US servicemen, the most US servicemen killed since 5 August 2011, during the Obama-Biden residency, when 38 died, in the worst single loss of the Afghan War (2001-2021). Although the World will little note, nor long remember this, it matters…for so many reasons—and most of all, for these dead and their families.

      Reply
    • BDW

      Their last breath drawn ties us to them, their strength, our weakness too.
      The World is…embroiled in war. Kathy, bar the door. Thank you.

      Reply
  4. Patricia Redfern

    These fabulous “13” get their names mentioned rarely. Even on TV. What is with humanity?
    Well, at least you did it…many thanks…
    God bless you!

    Reply
    • BDW

      Ms. Redfern is correct about these thirteen “names mentioned rarely”. Because it doesn’t fit the wretched narratives of corporate media’s smear merchants, like Comcast’s NBC, Disney’s ABC, TimeWarner’s CNN, National Amusement’s CBS, and Amazon’s WaPo, the story is being side-lined. It is even downplayed in the so-called “newspaper of record”, the NY Times, a laughable epithet.

      Reply
  5. BDW

    The key allusion, found in the final couplet, is from the classical Greek poet Simonides (c. 556- 468 BC).

    Reply

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