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  

London Tribute

       The Alaskanpoet has been away from his computer too long and is now back and creating poems faster than popcorn can pop at a movie theater. Twitter account at is active once more with over a 100 followers and seeking more. Second blog  is also up and running and I am posting comments on the news daily and posting location of such iambic comments on Twitter. 
        Spouses are not like geese--they come and go; jobs come and go; friends come and go; almost everything on this planet is in a state of motion save one, and with apologies to feline owners, that one is the loyalty and affection of one's canine pet. Several months ago a good friend asked me to write a tribute to a dog, a Malamute that had recently passed. Having been raised in Alaska and having learned to read with Robert Service as opposed to Dick, Jane and Spot, I immediately wrote what follows. If you enjoy it, which I think you will and you are fortunate enough to have a dog of any breed or mix, give him a big nuzzle, pet and dog treat.

London’s Tribute
A dog is a man’s best friend and a woman’s too
A joy with each bark and howl to renew
A dog’s love and loyalty never wanes, never aborts
When made by God, a slight err, He made a dog’s life too short
Like novas, fads may come and like novas, fads may go
But a Malamute can run on memory trails longer than the melting of the deepest glacier  snow
All dogs are special, but Malamutes are a special breed
Who else in a dog sled relay of 600 miles to Nome and diphtheria’s grip to be freed
The breed that saved Nome’s children from diphtheria’s rage
Also on all fours on the Bay, a tribute to Oakland’s to revival wage
London was a Malamute and to his owners a very special, special friend
A Malamute with loyalty that would never break, not even in the slightest bend
Like the North Star of Love and Devotion, always there
140 pounds of fur from breakfast to the napkins he would rarely share
Love of snow, love of an owner that would never end
Licks, a petting magnet, a playful tummy rub, to an owner a caring ear to lend
He may not have had a Service or namesake author with a first name Jack,
But in the friend and companion category, Blue Ribbons, he would never lack.
London never ran into the wee hours of the Midnight Sun
Or in any dog sled race with his speed he would most likely have won
Now sadly, far too soon, with too much speed
The finish line crossed, but with a new team to lead
Heaven may be sunny, peaceful, but with a hint of Northern Lights, glacial ice and pristine snow
This poet knows that God and His Angels must be waiting for London in the traces to take Them in tow
“Endurance-Loyalty-Intelligence” words etched forever on a sled dog’s bronze statute
Add for London “and with a love of owners, licks, play, napkins and howls” for a fitting tribute.”

© 6/14/2013 Michael P. Ridley a/k/a the AlaskanPoet