The Sound Of Taps

The sound of Taps, the saddest song

It rings within my ears

A song without a single word

Can bring these eyes to tears

 

This solemn song too often played

Remembered on this day in May

The sacrifice of souls so brave

They’d have it no other way

 

Freedom fought so hard the cost

Enjoyed by all today

Taken for granted far too oft

WIth beer and barbeque and play

 

Take the time to say your thanks

Out of respect for those who gave

May the thankful close their ranks

Laying flowers upon their graves

 

A simple thanks I offer with heart

For a son who served with pride

To mothers and fathers of fallen souls

I’m thankful that mine is alive

 

No greater the tragedy remembered this day

Than the loss of a child or parent

I’ll never forget their ultimate sacrifice

Though their deaths are found so abhorrent

 

This simple poem is all I can give

To express to all how I feel

I thank you, we thank you from the heart

Just know that our pain is for real

 

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~

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Young Men And Women Do Volunteer (Nested Landays)

Young men and women do volunteer

To fight for their country to the death, showing no fear

 

Their orders arrive just as they would

Off they go overseas in the hopes of doing good

 

Then there’s reality, oh the shock

Our core cultural values, by their ways they do rock

 

Women are property, used for sex

Sold to the highest bidder, the western mind perplexed

 

Wanting to react, but told they can’t

They turn a blind eye, though to each other they do rant

 

Lying in their cots, many tears shed

This war was not what they thought, they have all been misled

 

Romantic ideas, wars of the past

Live only in the movies there’s no way they could last

 

War is not romantic, kill and maim

Each victim has a mother and each face has a name

 

Someones left mourning, crying revenge

Seeking to draw blood, to honor loved ones they avenge

 

How do pray tell, will this cycle end

When it’s all about oil, our interests they pretend

 

After a decade, I doubt it will

The military industries haven’t had their fill

 

When this war ends another will come

Reasoned by our government, just watch and see their fun

 

Be sure and take my word, more will die

No matter how we complain, no matter how we try

 

As always, our young will volunteer

Believing propaganda from mongers they will hear

 

Gung-ho with ideals, noble ‘tis true

Witnessed in commercials they’re the brave, the proud, the few

 

Til God forbid the time ever comes

You gaze into their eyes, pull the trigger of the gun

 

From that moment on your life will change

You become a killer, a feeling that must be strange

 

Hoping that the reasons are pure, true

To live with such an action, the rest of your life through

 

Mourn for those who died and those alive

They will never be the same no matter how they strive

 

Mourn this generation raised with war

Think about the reasons, they are poisoned to the core

 

What kind of legacy will we leave

One that’s draped in death, they are constantly left to grieve

 

Can this end before it is too late

I pray that it can or destruction will be our fate


~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~

 

NOTE: Origination Afghanistan – a landay has only a few formal properties. Each has twenty-two syllables: nine in the first line, thirteen in the second. The poem ends with the sound “ma” or “na.” Sometimes they rhyme, but more often not. In Pashto, they lilt internally from word to word in a kind of two-line lullaby that belies the sharpness of their content, which is distinctive not only for its beauty, bawdiness, and wit, but also for the piercing ability to articulate a common truth about war, separation, homeland, grief, or love. Within these five main tropes, the couplets express a collective fury, a lament, an earthy joke, a love of home, a longing for the end of separation, a call to arms, all of which frustrate any facile image of a Pashtun woman as nothing but a mute ghost beneath a blue burqa.  The full description and some history of the form can be found at poetryfoundation.org.  I took some liberties with this form as it does not translate perfectly into English.  I did maintain the 9 and 13 syllables per line format, but eliminated the “ma” or “na” ending sound requirement opting instead to rhyme which can occur with this form.

Fields of Gettysburg

O’ obelisk, granite, grey, etched in sorrow,

Not so aged standing firm amongst the tall grasses;

Ne’er swaying though battered by wind and storm and history of war.

Your fields and gently rolling hills show no remnants of ball and shot,

Rivers of blood flowing across riverless plain.

The living perished here as surely as the dead those days,

Pitting brother against brother, for many, the reason elusive,

For honor, family, country, their fellow man, it matters not

As corpses lay bloodied, broken,less than whole.

Fortifications of man were little match for hell’s fury,

Breaking limbs and spirit with each fiery volley.

Friends, who shared hot coffee and conversation over warming fire…gone,

Gazing into the heavens through milky eyes,

Awash in dirt and blood, they are in pain no more.

Thousands upon thousands scattered haphazard,

Turning once green fields scarred and crimson.

Claims that those that lived and died still walk with us persist,

Destined to relive, in clips repeating, horrors of life in death.

In the quiet, amongst the trees rustle,

Smell of smoke and sulfur, sound of shot, fatal yells may still be heard.

Yet with daylights glow the grasses wave in silent salute,

Alone, but ne’er lonesome,

Watched o’er by the towering granite sentry,

Etched with the names and dreams

…Of the fallen.

.

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~

The Bog – A Dark Poem

As fading light danced with drifting fog,

Eerily drawn am I towards croak of frog.

Fast approach ‘cross soggy ground

Within an instant airs void of sound.

No frog, no cricket, no mosquitoes buzz,

For just a moment lost I was.

Then sound of sucking, foot in mud,

Terrified of dying, death in cold blood.

In fear for my life standing stone still,

Uncontrollable shivers as if a cold chill.

Slivers of light from cloud covered moon,

Praying to God it would be over soon.

Out of the shadows arose fanged beast,

Reason why sounds of nature had ceased.

Standing a head taller than tallest man I knew,

Sabre from sheath like lightning I drew.

Mustering courage for fear of flight,

I stood my ground determined I would fight.

From the shadow he stalked nose to the wind,

Catching my scent certain I had sinned.

For what reason would God unleash Satan’s fury,

Except in the hopes under bogs mire bury.

The glint of my blade must have captured his eye,

Like a cat through the swamp grass this evil did fly.

With the swipe of his hand claws hit their mark,

For barely a second the whole world went dark.

Such is my luck that the sabre stayed grasped,

Struggling to my feet with a faint thrust he gasped.

Blood on my blade proved the devil had been hit,

He stumbled and roared and crimson he did spit.

Shaking off the fog and the pain in my chest,

Determined to lay this monster to rest.

I trudged through the mud not a second to spare,

With razor sharp edged to the hilt I did bear.

Snapping his jaws his tail cracked like a whip,

Avoiding the fork as I tottered and slipped.

His anger was evident by his blood curdling cry,

To finish him off it was certain do or die.

Taking his tail with one mighty blow,

It continued to move as if putting staging a show.

With beast so distracted by the lose of his tail,

His color of skin turned obsidian to pale.

I drew back once more committed to his end,

Slice through his neck at the spine blade did bend.

As if made of marble all his thrashing came to a stop,

His head tilted forward, to his knees he did drop.

His eyes that did once glow a fiery red,

Turned a dull shade of black, I knew he was dead.

Exhausted and terrified I fell to the ground,

All of natures creatures carried on their sound.

Thing born of nightmares to be consumed by the bog,

Sinking ever slowly ne’er rising hence to slog.

.

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~

Casual Observers

Are we not all but casual observers

This game…though not such a game that governments play

What is it they do not tell us in the name of our own good

Who are they to decide what serves us best

Are these not our lives, our futures, our hopes, our dreams

They toy with these for their own folly

For the sake of national pride we label others as evil

Without looking within at our own flaws

Puffing chests, bellicose, with an arrogance befitting fools

Answering tit-for-tat with ever greater threats of destruction

This chain of ceaseless violence, when will it subside

Years of pain, years of suffering have taken their toll on this weary nation

I ask, what have we won, show me…show us

Do we need another war, more bloodshed of the innocent,

Further sacrifices by our brave men and women delivered as pawns

for subversive economic gain

Isn’t it time to seek peace after so much loss

And break this cycle of violence.

~

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~

Dormant Hopes

Dormant hopes plow headlong into the day

Exposing what should have been embarked upon long ago.

~

Fear and trepidation are expelled by confident reserve

Earned through years and experience.

~

Age’s limitations are banished

Realizing that age holds no boundary on dreams.

~

To succumb would be to admit paralyzing defeat,

This would be unacceptable.

~

Imagined consequences only serve to inhibit

Stunting our ability to progress toward true destiny.

~

For there is no failure in the journey made

Only in never having made the journey

~

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~

We Must Never Forget – A Tanka

Image Credit: theimagearsenal.com

Image Credit: theimagearsenal.com

These flag draped coffins

Returning from distant wars

We must not forget

Whether cause be right or wrong

They’re our brothers and sisters

~

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~