Poetry and song and maybe culture

Sunday, October 29, 2006

NEWS
Wichita, Kansas - July 1945

Vivian dashes in from thunder,
newspaper soaring over her head.
She stands in the kitchen, dripping,
laughing. She kisses me.
Her fingers are inky, her face printed
with news.

REST
Ardennes - January 1945

The hardest thing
was sleep - that cold.
Cold enough to crack stone
You couldn't lie down
in it - or even sit.
Even the springs of the rifles
slow.

MORNING
Ardennes - January 1945

You wouldn't believe how beautiful
it was. In the night the fog would freeze
and in the morning everything
was soft with it - ghosts of trees.
We advanced into open fields
the colour of apple blossom,
delicate with blue shadows.
Against that snow we stood out
like deer.
And then
the shelling would start.



WINTER WHITE
Ardennes - January 1945

Midafternoon in some nameless town
a door bangs, a woman comes running,
arms full of folded white. One sheet
flies out behind her like a banner, and
they understand. She's giving them linens,
winter camouflage. With no language,
he thanks her, and she presses to him,
weeping. When she runs he lifts
his hands and finds
a table cloth. Not lace, but that stiff stuff,
cutwork. He cuts it
with his bayonet.
Pulls it over his head. Inside,
he smells the starch, the ghost of iron.

-- Erin Noteboom

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