Thursday, June 6, 2019

Ponte du Hoc Seventy Five Years Later

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 jump and 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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