Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lost Poem Pointe du Hoc

In the fall of 1967 while un etudiant en France a Tours, I was able to visit Normandy and view up close the cliffs the Rangers scaled at Pointe du Hoc. Closing your eyes you could almost hear over the rolling surf the cries of men, the explosion of grenades and the deadly hail of machine guns and rifles. Even the tears of absolute amazement over the courage of those men, streaming down your face sounded like hail on a tin roof.
In 1994 I wrote a poem Pointe du Hoc which not save in a computer was lost and finally found by me today going through boxes arising out of my retirement from the practice of law. I hope you enjoy it. I have a feeling more lost poems will be found which I will post. If any reader would like a customized poem for a wedding, birthday, anniversary or other event worthy of iambic memory or tribute or memorialization, click on my profile and contact me. Reasonable rate beyond belief and satisfaction guaranteed.

                                     Pointe du Hoc 

The gray-haired Rangers gathered at the base of the Normandy cliff,
Glory once and a life of paychecks and stress obscuring the faded drift.
Were we so lucky, brave or only young fools?
No sanity could climb into the teeth so cruel
Who could today charge forward and try to scale,
Surrounded by death and the wounded men’s wails
We didn’t have the simulations, training, diet or improved strength,
Only a sense of right and a Ranger’s need to go to great lengths 

No on sight coverage, only Movie-Tone News to calm our fears,
Without hesitation or the windy drafts, we all volunteered
To cross the ocean and join the Great Crusade
To free a continent one had only across a beach to wade 

Onto a beach of sand, waves and floating lost hopes,
Into the base of the cliffs we tried to cope
Maybe the belief that our God was a better shield
And their Gott was too ashamed to defend the field. 

Maybe all the families forged by the crucible of a Great Depression
And visions of righteousness gathered against repression.
No heroes, no glory, only the basic need to survive,
The base of the cliffs dealt death and left nothing alive 

Up the scaling ladders, steel into flesh, hardened yet soft,
Tumbling companions as we struggled to climb aloft
To against all odds take the high ground and stare into the empty concrete slits
Gun less dangers so feared by the laden, landing ships. 

Wind now blowing gently across thinning white strands,
Memories strong, political accolades today far too tepid and bland
Brave and scared men with a rightful sense
Into a grim reaping hell far too intense 

Could we today repeat if called to the task?
Or would the absence tear off the warriors’ mask?
No family, no morals, only the new gadget’s need,
Drugs, escape, emptiness in ever increasing speed. 

We all know eventually we’ll all lie silent to the patter of tossed dirt
What is important is for one to defy and try to assert
The need to cleanse an enslaved people of an evil scourge,
Even as the lost dreams float silently in the tidal surge.

We pray the cliffs never again test our moral and manly fiber
Or into harm’s way we chopper into an LZ, jump from the sky or crash in gliders
Joined by prayers that this nation’s foes known and yet unknown
Accept facing an American spirit aroused is facing life on a very short loan

                                               © 1994 Michael P. Ridley
                                               a/k/a the AlaskanPoet  

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