Monday, May 30, 2016

Monday's Poetry: "Rendezvous"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

Today is Memorial Day, a national holiday of remembrance that was, until 1971, known as Decoration Day - a time set aside to decorate graves and honor the dead - and to particularly pay homage to those who died in our nation's wars.  The holiday actually has its roots in the American Civil War, but much of the art and poetry related to the observance seems to have originated as a result of America's involvement in the two world wars - and especially World War I.

Today's poetry selection is a beautiful poem that is an anticipation of death on the battlefield.  It was written by a young American by the name of Alan Seeger.  Tragically Mr. Seeger went on to fulfill his own prophecy on July 4th, 1916, at the Battle of Somme in France.  Alan Seeger obviously had some personal investment in the cause because America had not even entered the war at the time he was killed.  Alan Seeger was just twenty-eight-years-old when he died on the French battlefield.
Here, in remembrance of all who have fallen in war, are a few haunting lines from a fellow soldier who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the "war to end wars" a century ago this summer.

by Alan Seeger

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air -
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath -
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows 'twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear . . .
But I've a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

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