Some days we forget

*
*
Independence Day
In a soggy ditch,
clenched flintlock and face
caked with mud, and a dream filled
With a farm and children and smell of baked pie,
He lay still, watching overhead with one eye
As proud gloss booted soldiers march,
sun red uniforms trimmed in black
march overhead, proudly down the center of a dirt road
eyes forward and the silence of thought
***
In a shell hole filled with wet and filth
A G.I. lies silent, dreaming of a Saturday night
And a pretty girl in pigtails and full pack of Lucky Strikes
While jack booted troops from a thousand miles away
grey and silence against a grey French country morn,
march overhead, eyes forward and the silence of thought
***
In oven sweat heat, pressed tight against an ancient stone wall,
A soldier weighted down by the supplies of war,
watches a scorpion scramble useless up a sand hill
and he listens for the silence of the men rushing past
strange men who have come from the hills
to kill him and his brothers.
***
Today is our day of Independence
A day someone has laid chilled in a ditch to end our suppression
A day some dirt stranger felt it was better to die
so others could be Jews or gypsies
or not live of fear of what they read or
what they uttered in a tiny coffee café.
Our own children bravely passed through every stone portal
Expecting the flash of unseen bomb,
of the piercing burn of a waiting bullet
Our children crossed half a world away
So those who would slaughter us, slaughter their own
could be punished and crushed,
by the rights and equalities
we hold so dear, so self-evident.
Whether they lay in a muddy ditch 225 years in the past
or bury deep in a shell hole pit of mud,
Each unnamed soul, men and women, young and old, brothers, sisters, fathers and daughters,
fought against those who would take away this day
This day of our Independence

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