Since next Wednesday marks the 70th anniversary of the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor, and the entrance of the United States into the war, I thought I would mention a book in the "American Poets Project" series, Poets of World War II, edited by Harvey Shapiro (Library of America, 2003). The collection covers 62 American poets, with 120 poems dealing with the war. In honor of Pearl Harbor Day, I'd like to share this poem by Howard Neverov:
The War in the Air(Note: the Latin phrases can be translated as "through adversity" and "through hardship." The motto of the RAF was Per ardua ad astra. "Through adversity to the stars.")
For a saving grace, we didn't see our dead,
Who rarely bothered coming home to die
But simply stayed away out there
In the clean war, the war in the air.
Seldom the ghosts came back bearing their tales
Of hitting the earth, the incompressible sea,
But stayed up there in the relative wind,
Shades fading in the mind,
Who had no graves but only epitaphs
Where never so many spoke for never so few:
Per ardua, said the partisans of Mars,
Per aspera, to the stars.
That was the good war, the war we won
As if there were no death, for goodness' sake,
With the help of the losers we left out there
In the air, in the empty air.
This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is found at Carol's Corner.
Pearl Harbor photos courtesy Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.