Memorial Day Poem: “April Eighth”


Today is Memorial Day and my thoughts, as always, turn to those who have given there lives for our country. I never knew my father who was killed in action in WWII when I was three months old. I wrote this poem  when Easter Sunday and the anniversary of his death in 1944 fell on the same day. It’s not a new post, but it seems a fitting occasion to repost today for the dVerse Memorial Day prompt.

April Eighth

An article in the Smithsonian
alluded to the Holy
Shroud of Turin.
The image of Christ
seared radiologically
into a burial cloth.
A violent burst of energy.
A life-seed
in a closed space
blowing out boundaries.
Stories of an empty tomb.

Easter comes early
this year.
Daffodils explode in
the front garden,
sheltered by a warm wall.

April eighth,
nineteen forty-four.
A seed plummets to earth,
wrapped in a metal
death-womb.
Ejaculated from heaven,
it burrows into dank soil.
Buried.
Fragmented.
Combusted in another
surge of energy.

Months go by:
a year to the day.
Someone in the
War Department
types the letter on
a piece of onion-skin paper.
Words smudged by an
over-used ribbon tell
the woman to move on with her life.
The child will never call him
daddy.

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13 thoughts on “Memorial Day Poem: “April Eighth”

  1. hobgoblin2011 says:

    Really some great images in here. I love the theory of the Shroud, I’ve read at least two books on it and various documentaries as well, it fascinates me. That last stanza is very strong. Great job. Thanks

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  2. karenglenn says:

    Very lyrical and moving. I love the metaphor of the daffodils. I think this is one of the most effective poems for this prompt.

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  3. TinoTino says:

    That final sentence goes deeper than any bullet ever could. A truly inspirational piece!

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  4. seingraham says:

    This is simply astounding – so many crisp original images starting with the dating at the Smithsonian and the Shroud of Turin, you had me and the references to explosions of seeds and subtly to bombs … such careful word choices – ejaculated, fragmented, buried, over-used, smudged, onion-skin – to name a few … a tour-de-force of a poem. I love it.

    http://seingrahamsays.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/th_memorial-day/

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  5. gardenlilie says:

    A very nice poem you wrote that would likely reach many people. The yellow flowers stand out as well as the War Dept. letter. Thanks.

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  6. zongrik says:

    some great images here like:

    A life-seed
    in a closed space

    Ejaculated from heaven,
    it burrows into dank soil.

    and then the smudged letters to tell a woman she lost her seed. 😦 so, so sad!!!!!

    four memorial day senryu

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  7. I appreciate the personal share…I love it though it grieves me that a lot of children will not know their parents ~ Your ending lines are specially touching ~

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  8. janehewey says:

    “a seed plummets to earth, wrapped in metal death-womb.” stunning and all capturing.
    then, your “Ejaculated form heaven, it burrows into dank soil.” is hanging on my tongue like death. this is positively stunning, Victoria.

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  9. This is so touching, and so special, Victoria. What a wonderful tribute to your father and all those who gave their all.

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  10. OrangeUaPoet says:

    I appreciate you resharing this poem with us today and for hosting this poetry prompt that has so many poets, including myself, sharing their own creations as we reflect and pay tribute to those who served. I am grateful for the ultimate sacrifice your father and my uncle made to give us the freedom we enjoy. Thank you.

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  11. Thank you for telling yours/his story. We who have loss bond in what we have in common–our love for a loved one.

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  12. brian miller says:

    from the line with the date, this becomes a very emotional poem for me..you set it up well but the seed ejaculated from heaven to the onion skin letter….you grabbed my heart heart there…and gave me misty eyes…smiles.

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  13. Mary says:

    The parallels drawn between the daffodils and the missile/bomb were very effective in this poem of personal sadness and remembrance…..a reminder of how many children lost mother or father to war, how many (like you) never even got to know them.

    Like

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