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Christine Tsen

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Piccolo Salvation
by Christine Tsen

Sunday, May 22, 2011
Rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent poems by Christine Tsen
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Happy Memorial Day!

My father was in the front lines of WWII until it was discovered he played the piccolo. He was ordered into the band just as all the men that were in his platoon were killed. He has always been a grateful man, even for the smallest things, and claims his life was saved by a piccolo.

Piccolo Salvation


Notes pouring from a ringing piccolo

Wending through the mist

Of a shell shocked treescape

Singing lamentations of blue, of gold

Lyrical love poems punctuated softly

By the relentless beat of pounding dirt

Issuing geysers of mud brick and exploding mortar

Amongst the graphic and gory

Comes newfound maturity


A prisoner in his martial march

Military sorrows in silvery joy

Step upon step, staccato melting into legato’s last breath

Leafy green blue sky listening with rapt attention

To this accidental thespian chafing in his GI helmet

Descending the hills’ catwalk through a labyrinth of mines

As into the dusking night he drifts

Blinded by the shocking green of survival.

And spurred by the vision of her welcome home eyes.


© 2011 Christine Tsen.  All Rights Reserved 



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Reviewed by Regis Auffray 9/22/2012
Such a meaningful sharing, Christine. Your verses engage the reader to think... ...and to appreciate. Love and best wishes to you,

Reviewed by Odin Roark 5/24/2012
Giving tribute to veterans, as well as loved ones, is never an easy task, given the sincerity that most often accompanies such experiences. Here, however, you've conjoined your brush with his canvas and painted a truly compassionate and game-changing picture of a soldier who knows of beauty, even as he labors at the task of war. Inspiring.
Reviewed by JMS Bell 5/23/2012
Reviewed by D. Vaineo 6/6/2011
Christine, We never know what are fate is going to
be until fate faces us squarely in the face...
Another great write!
Reviewed by dan Rosenhagen 5/28/2011
This is magnificent Christine, I love the "new found maturity" line. such a subtle way to express their rearing within the hell of a battle field. The red white and blue font is so creative.

Such a master you are.

touched by your art
Reviewed by Kate Burnside 5/28/2011
The jaunty piccolo has such a cheery sound which resonates like shell-shock through the ghastly realisations and disbelief. Reality can be hard to grasp when music literally transports us to another place. The agonising duallism is captured admirably by your final lines:

As into the dusking night he drifts
Blinded by the shocking green of survival.
And spurred by the vision of her welcome home eyes.

Survival is a fine thread by which we can dangle precariously between the jaws of gratitude and guilt. And a forever tangled web. As always, great writing, Christine. xx

Reviewed by Andy Turner 5/28/2011
Oh heck, how oftentimes he must lament the loss of his regiment.

Such are the drums of war. I'd have a plethora of emotions.

In your words one can hear the horrific sounds of men being downed and visualise the carnage. Exceptional writing, for you big ole hero!

Reviewed by Ronald Hull 5/27/2011
We're all grateful to your father for his contribution. I see that music runs in the family. It's a charming story about how your father was saved by his music.

Reviewed by Sheila Roy 5/27/2011
I enjoyed all the little details in this poem, Christine. A great sense of Fate, and you really took us to that feeling of being just on the edge of danger with every move. Awesome.
Reviewed by Axilea MU 5/26/2011
There are many ways in which music can save your life. There is a wonderful rhythm in the piece and at the same time, it is very visual too.
"Military sorrows in silvery joy
Step upon step, staccato melting into legatoís last breath"
love these lines...
"Blinded by the shocking green of survival.
And spurred by the vision of her welcome home eyes."
really effective!

Reviewed by jude forese 5/24/2011
strange how a single event can alter the course of one's life ... a fine tribute you presented here ...
Reviewed by Chip Bergeron 5/24/2011
Sometimes a person's life gets spared by the strangest and most unuasual thing...

Chip Bergeron
Reviewed by E T Waldron 5/24/2011
Christine,your poetry is very special,thank you for sharing it here!
Reviewed by John Bidwell 5/24/2011
Have you seen on Youtube "Alice Dancing Under the gallows"?
What an amazing reminder this is that music surrounds and saves the most beautiful people.
I got a Piccilo tom with a splash cymbol for my birthday back in January. Wish I had more time for it- and for writing.
Sweet words Christine.
Reviewed by Annabel Sheila 5/23/2011
Lovely tribute to your father, Christine....and a very interesting story as well....Powerful impact!

Reviewed by Patrick Granfors 5/23/2011
The day the music lived. And so the music was transferred to the new Miss American pie generation. Bye and Bye he must be very proud of you. Patrick
Reviewed by Peter Schlosser (Reader) 5/23/2011
your very existence on this earth is due to the fact that your father played the piccolo. now isn't that a trip. we're all members of the inches and seconds club. great poem!
Reviewed by richard cederberg 5/23/2011
An interesting write CT, your father was blessed. r
Reviewed by Christine Alwin 5/23/2011
Oh my Chistine this took my breath away and gave me a tear..what a story, piccolo will forever sing in one's heart~
Reviewed by Mr. Ed 5/23/2011
Quite a powerful piece for Memorial Day, Christine.
Reviewed by Chantilly Lace (Reader) 5/23/2011
Very well written enjoyed sweet lady...Hugsss
Reviewed by Kenny Baez 5/22/2011
I hope your old Dad is sound as a pound, Christine. What a lucky escape he had thanks to his silver piccolo. Something like that stays with you all your life. He must be very thoughtful and grateful for every day.

I must get out that old penny whistle before they start WWIII! kenny
Reviewed by Morgan Merriweather 5/22/2011
it's neat to have moments of history in your family written down to share with next generations. nice write, Chris......Morgan
Reviewed by Vivian Dawson 5/22/2011
Pain and sorrow...uplifted so tender
and lyrical, via the music of your poetry.

Lady Vivian
Reviewed by TONY NERONE 5/22/2011
This was a fine tribute to your Dad, Christine. The sound of the Piccolo is very under-rated.
Peace and Love
Reviewed by John Flanagan 5/22/2011
Some story, Christine!
Salvation often comes in the most
unexpected, unusual ways, but it is salvation
Love the images you employ in the writing:
thoughtful, relevant and resonant.

Reviewed by Felix Perry 5/22/2011
My Dad was on the front lines as a Private in the Canadian Army, when I wrote his story about WWII I read the letters he had written home to my Mom...and it amazed me not only the courage of these men but also their sense of humour.
Great write...
Reviewed by Richard King 5/22/2011
".... And spurred by the vision of her welcome home eyes...." WOW!!! You are the wordmaster, dear Christine. The perfect ending to a fantastic poem. Thanks Dick
Reviewed by Laura Fall 5/22/2011
A fascinating write well done and told amazingly indeed Laura
Reviewed by George Carroll 5/22/2011
My brother in ww2 as spared in like manner but for different reasons.
God blessed your father with a long and happy life. You have written another masterpiece of poetic, word crafted imagery. that is stunning.

Reviewed by Mark Lichterman 5/22/2011
Vividly, beautifully written words, as we have come to expect from you, Christine. Vividly beautiful and yet frightening. How proud of you your father must be.
Reviewed by Gene Williamson 5/22/2011
Bless the piccolo and bless your dad on this Memorial Day,
from one of the young WWII navy vets who made it back.

Christine, your capture of time and place, superb.

Reviewed by Lonnie Hicks 5/22/2011
so wonderfully written
Reviewed by Joy Hale 5/22/2011
An amazing portrayal of one soldiers experience in World War Two. You write of war as if you had been there, making the experience so real for your viewers. Very good, Christine. Thanks for sharing.

Joy L. Hale
Reviewed by Jerry Bolton (Reader) 5/22/2011
I imagine I, too would be grateful for the piccolo, but some guilt that I wasn't with my platoon. It is one of those achingly tough things to deal with I would imagine.

The story, told in poem, is mesmerizing. I can picture the exploding mud and the smells and the screams. You pain a vivid picture of the whole drama, only to be bested by the very last line.
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