War demands poetry, like a wound demands bandaging. My father was not a poet, except that he was once a soldier. At the age of twenty-one, in the wake of the Normandy invasion of 1944, he and thousands of other young men slogged their way through the fields of France, fouling “hands and knees/With a crap-shooting Death...” That’s how he saw it. He had little faith that words conveyed the enormity of “Young men, dead-lain upon the ground” in a forest grove. “Words do not bleed,” he wrote, “words do not belly lie.” But in the face of that “butchery which has no translation,” words were all he had of dignity.
holes held together
with spider silk