A Perfect Day on Normandy Beach

Posted by WDonway 1 year, 6 months ago to History
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D-Day Anniversary, June 6

A Perfect Day at Normandy Beach

Enjoy! It’s shorts and jerseys for today,
Scarcely a breeze off shore, but still not hot.
Channel behaving, waves tickling toes,
Playful. The bunkers just the shady spot!

I packed a picnic, as per plan, with wine.
But first, just shoot that twisty tree, set back—
Right on the bunker line. From there, one guy,
A Wehrmacht sniper, watched the whole attack,

Men surging through the surf. “Like shooting rabbits,”
Till naval gunners spotted where he hid,
And got his range; but he had scurried off
To live and write a book. So what? Some kid…

All unavoidable. Sit here and rest.
Rommel, it was, not Hitler, ordered it:
To fortify the coast, dig in and wait.
Bunkers with kitchens, beds, near where we sit.

French forced to labor, building till the end—
Invasion. Picture it, across the sand,
The foggy wall of ships, tossed landing craft—
The sea-lashed, seasick, fateful lunge to land.

The puking, praying men, then drowning men;
Breast-high in surf that bullets dimple, cries;
Then, deafened by the noise, a silent dream:
A shattered man is miming screams – and dies.

All unavoidable, ours but to ask
How they accepted fate none could avert—
The day, the place and time, the Germans primed-
And theirs the panic, blood, the tears in dirt.

And even statesmen hating fate, each step.
No way to spare them, scarcely men, the pure,
Upon this day that chose itself—that chose
The plan, the price in lives–they all felt sure.

This day in June we are content to mourn,
Affirm nine-thousand-something crosses here
(After a nap, perhaps), all blameless white,
Unavoidable, history makes clear.

*From "How Glad I Am for Man, Tonight, by Walter Donway, Romantic Revolution Books, available only on Amazon.
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