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Mark M Lichterman

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  Children, American Children
by Mark M Lichterman
Monday, March 15, 2010
Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent poems by Mark M Lichterman
•  Words, I Need Words!
•  Really, What If
•  Sex Now
•  Smoke in The Wind
•  Young
           >> View all 410


Children, American Children
Baylor Military School: January 18, 1944

A "Becoming" excerpt put to poetry
_______________________________________


Children, American Children

Day is done:

“Nine o’clock!

Lights out!”

Stamp books closed,

all trading stopped.

Letters to mom and dad held off,

to be written the next day.

Checkerboards folded.

Red and black checkers

and black and white chessmen put into their boxes

the boxes put onto the game shelf.

Hands and face scrubbed.

Teeth brushed.

Squeaking of bedsprings.

Rustle of bedding.

A whisper: “Shhh!”

A giggle: “Quiet!”

A burst of laughter: “Settle down!”

“Quiet in there!

Squad leaders making rounds.”

“Floor two, west section all accounted for!”

“Thank you, Frankie. Good night.”

“You’re welcome, Miss Stoldig. Good night.”

Two hundred and fifty-two boys lay in warm, clean beds.

Eyes closed or looking at the dimly iridescent ceiling,

or through the window at the slivered, silver moon.

Waiting…

Waiting.

It started.

The bugle.

Muted, as though coming from a great distance…

Soft.

Sad.

Crying.

Taps:

Day is done.

Gone the sun.

From the lake.

From the hills,

from the sky.

Day is done.

For the boys lying awake,

sadly thinking of a loved and missed mother,

father, brother, sister…

home.

Remembering for all the make-believe,

even though remote and far from this small,

peaceful place there was a war being fought,

and those that had remembered that their father

or big brother was “there”…

wherever “there” was.

Children.

American children.

John Wayne.

Randolph Scott.                                              

The Lone Ranger and Captain Midnight.

Pictures in pencil or crayon:

A B-17 Flying Fortress with its bomb bay open.

“Bombs away!”

Bombs falling on the “bad guys”: on Germany, on Japan.

A Lockheed Lightening with its white and blue-winged star.

“Off we go, into the wild blue yonder, flying high into the sky!”

Children. American children.

For them the war was far away,

a distant, romantic montage of movie shadows and radio sounds.

RATATATATATAT!

The staccato burst of machine guns.

“Tail gunner to pilot!”

“Yeah, Joe?”

“Hey, Cap, there goes another good Nip!”

The Japanese Mitsubishi Zero,

fire and smoke spewing from its engine,

spiraled madly towards earth.

“Yeah, good shootin’, Joe!”

“Say hello to Tojo, Nip!”

“Squad leader to squad!

Hiennies coming in at two o’clock!”

RATATATATATAT!

“I say, Captain. There goes another ‘good Hiennie’!”

The German Mercedes Messerschmitt,

fire and smoke spewing from its engine,

spiraled madly towards earth.

“Good show!”

“Say hello to Hitler, Hiennie!”

They lay in their warm, clean beds,

sleeping, dozing, or talking softly.

They talk of this and that:

of parents, of brothers, of sisters, of pets, of friends…

of home.

Burrowing a little deeper in their blankets,

soon all are asleep.

Thin, wispy clouds scuttled across the sky.

The wind blew,

rustling dead and dried leaves.

All was quiet.

 

 

 

 




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Reviewed by Georg Mateos 3/16/2010
And like Erich Marie said, "all is quiet on the western front" but many will never hear the last taps.

Georg

Reviewed by Felix Perry 3/16/2010
I am almost speechless after reading this Mark...so much reality, so much feeling, so much truth. Having been born after WWII I remembered all of this and more as TV brought it alive but mostly only our side...
fee

Books by
Mark M Lichterman



For Better or Worse

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The Climbing Boy

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Becoming

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