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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Thanks for your Service

“Thanks for your service”,

Offered by friends to my son.

“It’s not about me”

His reply with a kind, but…

Instead it’s about

Those we can no longer thank

Because they are gone.

Please thank those still with us

And remember those who’ve past.

 

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~

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.

Please Tell Me

Please tell me….

What does it look like to win?

Ideology can’t be defeated on the battlefield,

No matter how you try you can’t kill it.

You can kill its adherents,

Destroying the body, but their hate lives on.

Containment is decried as weak,

Nothing short of all out war satisfies the hawks,

Annihilation of everyone and everything their only answer.

So then, please tell me…

What does the enemy look like?

Muslim?

Dark skinned?

Light skinned?

Man?

Woman?

Child?

Young?

Old?

Sounds like the faces of the innocent and the guilty.

Can you please tell me…

How will you know your foe?

They will not come at you waving a flag.

They will not march upon your positions in perfect high-step.

They will not be clothed in matching uniforms,

Blaring their trumpets and saluting.

So tell me again…

Who is the enemy?

The farmer?

The shopkeeper?

The mechanic?

The soldier?

The school teacher?

The Imam?

The mother?

The father?

The child?

Would you have us kill every living thing just to make your point?

You rhetoric says that you would!

Someone please tell me…

What does it look like to win?

 

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~

 

War Damages More Than Earth And Enemy

War damages more than earth and enemy.

Its scars not always visible disfigure,

Taking more than life and limb.

Those once docile and kind seethe with anger

Tearing family, home and heart to shreds.

Longing to coddle the child we once knew

We only serve to alienate.

As a result we remain silent,

Helpless against the inner demons that torment.

We pray they make it back home in one piece,

Yet coming to terms with that which we cannot see

…There is now way to prepare for.

 

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~

 

We Are Still At War

We are still at war

Though it is invisible

To the naked eye

The media doesn’t care

Only the families do

Far away from home

Tears are shed–

With each phone call

Praying for good news

Or maybe no news at all.

They are alone with their fears

 

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~

 

On This Somber Day

On this somber day

Where allied blood once ran free;

I am reflective.

Wondering…what it was like

Staring down death and bullet.

Alone, but not so,

Brothers shoulder to shoulder

On that distant shore.

Seventy years on it lives

In those few that still remain.

You can see their pride,

You can see their welling tears

As if yesterday.

Thinking about friends they’d lost

As the price for our freedom.

Remember their dead.

Many scarcely got to live;

Few had said goodbye,

None had regretted the cause

That changed world history.

~

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~

 

Pain You Cannot See

Pain you cannot see,

Can be heard–

In the wavering of words,

Can be seen–

In the worried expression.

Reliving the past in waking dreams;

Speaking to the invisible that seem so real;

Returning to the present awash with anger.

Ravages of war do not always leave visible wounds–

For the visible may be treated with scalpel and stitch.

That which is unseen may be the most devastating of all,

Lasting a lifetime,

Tormenting, demonizing, incapacitating,

Shattering the spirit.

We see this on the streets,

We see this in the shelters,

We see it on the cardboard signs

And in the tin cans held out by dirty hands,

No place is immune.

These are the ones we turn away,

Diverting our eyes,

Ignoring them as a nuisance,

Wishing they would just go away.

Does not their sacrifice grant them better?

They gave when called,

Offering life and limb;

Permitting us the pursuit of our happiness.

Yet what do we offer in return?

Nothing but contempt.

~

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~