Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

"The past is never dead, it is not even past."

~William Faulkner


They have been given
flags, these children,

to plant between the stones–
decorated sticks, each insertion

point chosen with grave
care, the same they give to tugging

lace tights onto stiff-kneed
baby dolls, building

landing craft from perforated
plastic blocks, and arraying–

piece by piece–
squads of battered

soldiers along the arms
of couch and chair.

They have been given
flags, these children.

-Sara Lewis Holmes

From RN Clara Hart's post at The Sandbox:

It’s Memorial Day and while I want to remember, I don’t want to remember. I don’t want to remember my friends killed on September 11th, or the others who've died serving our great country. Those who I’ve worked so hard to save only to fail. I don’t want to remember the broken bodies I try so hard to fix. I don’t want to remember the scarred hearts that may never be mended. Read the rest.


  1. This one makes me shiver. It's beautiful and stark and begs the question, "why?" Why have we given flags to these children? Do they understand?

    Do we want them to?

  2. That is really beautiful. TadMack's right about "stark" being the word here. Such vivid imagery, too. I love simply how you chose not to open it with "these children have been given flags" or some such construction; for just a moment, we assume it's an adult, and then to read it's a child is a jolt.

  3. Beautiful and sobering.

  4. Beautiful poem--the structure fits so well, too.

  5. This is breath taking. What sharp, hearbreaking images. The little "lace tights onto stiff-kneed
    baby dolls" - oh my soul how can it be we must teach them to plant flags too?


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