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June 5, 2014

Poetry Friday--D-Day Remembered

June 6, 2014 is the 70th anniversary of the invasion of France that marked the beginning of the end for Germany in World War II.

I'm going share three poems about World War II that you can also find in my online collection, Kids of the Homefront Army: Poems of World War II America.


JUNE 6, 1944

It’s almost as though
everyone is walking
on tippy-toe.

New York City is quiet--
hushed and listening
for the latest news

of the invasion
that will lead us
on the path to peace.

Or not, depending
upon how it goes.
For now, all eyes

are on the news line.
All hearts have stopped beating.
Please, Lord...




Every Thursday night
since the war began
my mother and I go
to the picture show.
She claims it’s because
she needs to escape
from the kitchen.
She doesn’t fool me.
It’s the Movietone news
she goes to see.
Newsreels show the war
as it is—dirty and deadly.
As long as Lowell Thomas is able
to narrate the horrors every week,
Mother will be there to watch.
She wants to be a witness.
Me, I’d rather be a slave
in the kitchen.



I picked up the trumpet
in grade school
for something to do.
It was my dad’s horn.

He had played in his
high school band.
He was rather good—
or so he said.

I liked tootling around
pretending I was
swinging with Benny
Goodman or Tommy Dorsey.

One day, at school,
a horn player was recruited
to play Taps as a tribute
to our fallen servicemen.

I had pretended for so long
that I believed I could play.
"I’ll do it!" I said,
before I stopped to think.

Now everyone would know.
I was a faker—a fraud.
How could I have been
so foolish?

I practiced all weekend
in the cellar where my squeaks
and squawks were muffled.
I drilled until my lip bled.

On Monday, bruised and swollen,
I took my place on the landing
between the two floors.
I lifted the trumpet.

I played slowly,
I played deliberately,
I played my best.
I played for my dad.

Poems © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo courtesy Library of Congress. Video courtesy Internet Archive.

We can't think about D-Day without remembering those who died--war means loss. Especially for children. Let's all work for peace today.

Carol's Corner is hosting this week's Round-Up and I'm sure there will be plenty of poems to put a smile on your face.


  1. All good tributes, enjoyed very much

    Much love...

  2. Lovely Diane. My father died on this day too, but in 1945, a year later. It is a date to commemorate and sorrow over. My step-father was in the second wave. What a time it was. I have my relatives to thank for sharing what they could with a young girl. Your poems are lovely, each uniquely poignant. Thank you.

    1. I'm sorry you lost your father, Linda. You were lucky that relatives were able to share with you. I've spoken to many people who have told me that their fathers NEVER spoke about the war.

  3. Diane, thanks for posting about D-Day. I was looking this week at some of Robert Capa's terrifying photos of the landing - especially the one that shows how chaotic it was (the camera being jostled - or Capa trembling - uncontrollably.) PBS is going to have an interesting program about the landing today (Friday) where a small submersible boat with camera goes under the water to see what remains of everything that sank offshore. My dad was in the war, too, but in the Philippines - never wanted to talk about it with me.

    1. My father was one of the lucky ones, he was in the navy and assigned to a ship that guarded the east coast of the U.S. He never saw action.

  4. Diane, thank you for sharing the poems and film about WWII. I remember as a little one listening to my grandmother and mother tell the stories of the war. Both my uncles enlisted when they were 17. In those days, the call to patriotic duty brought teenagers forward to become soldiers. The horror of war is unimaginable to me but today is a day to be grateful for those who paved the way for peace.

    1. Thanks, Carol, your sentiments are shared by many.

  5. Wonderful poems, Diane, but Musician really spoke to me...I've been listening to so many podcasts about the day - there was such a sense of collective sharing of sacrifice in those days.

    1. It is amazing to me how the war found its way into all lives--from shortages to scrap drives to the newsreels. In the past decade you'd be hard-pressed to know the U.S. was engaged in not one, but two, wars. If we had all shared more, perhaps those two wars would have ended sooner.

  6. Thanks for the poems and video, Diane. Those young voices are heartbreakingly poignant. I'm glad you posted about D-Day, with your wish for peace.

    1. My wish is always for peace. (That sounds like I'm a Miss America candidate, doesn't it?)

  7. Beautiful persona poems, Diane. What a perfect choice for today. Each speaker is coping with the reality of war in his or her own way.

    1. Laura, that's why I wrote 100 poems in 100 different voices--everyone had a reaction to the war.

  8. Wonderful how you were able to speak to the day with three distinct voices. "Musician" spoke to me most.

    1. "Musician" made me cry when I wrote it, so I'm glad it spoke to you.

  9. This is just to say that I have been here and read your words, but surgery on both thumbs last Tuesday prevents me from typing a personalized comment. Forgive me -- copy/paste is the best I can do this week! :-)

    1. Mary Lee, I never feel it is necessary for readers to comment. For me it is enough that they take the time to read. I haven't been able to respond to the comments here for the last 24 hours, but that's what happens, sometimes. I hope the healing is going well!

  10. Thank you for this post, Diane. How you pull such beauty from such horror amazes me. Much as I try, I know I can't even begin to imagine what my 18-year old Marine father went through in the Pacific.

    1. Nor can I. Without youth's recklessness and the belief in their immortality, war would disappear. If we could stand up to political hawks, and force them to go instead of young people, it would disappear immediately.

  11. I love these Diane. You enter to the hearts of these kids and bring us with you. Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Violet, I do try imagine how I would have felt in the situation.