D-day, The Deep Sob. A Poetic Tribute by Lorine Parks

 

By Lorine Parks

D day the deep sob

 

ici Londres London calling

invasion forces are massed but where will they land

rumors the German High Command

is told by a double agent embedded in London

expect near St.-Lo

but the Wehrmacht’s bet is Dunkerque the logical place

Rommel goes home for his wife’s birthday

von Runstedt turns his back on Falaise and looks north

 

St.-Lo after four years of Nazi oppression France is hot

in cellars and small backyard sheds

pitchforks are stored and scythes honed

sledge hammers stand handle up on dirt floors which faintly suggest

cider and summer moths and burlap and twine

tonight bicyclettes upside down pedals spinning

generate just enough power to receive if it comes

the signal

ici Londres London calling

 

the weather turns sour bombardments of rain

armada moon lost in salvos of rain

 

waiting grizzled old men the rest have been shot

or conscripted or shipped to German prison camps

farm girls and grand’meres work the fields

and care for the brindled dairy cows

bossies with upthrust horns like crescent crowns

languorous beasts whose sweet and primrose-hued milk

chalky and thin in the pail dilute in the churn

 

on the granite cross in the small village place

see the family names chiseled in gold

husbands and sons morts pour la Patrie

Yves dead first a cadet at Saumur

Jean-Luc with the Free French in Afrique

Mich’ escaped for a while to the underground maquis

the second line of a poem when it comes is the signal

the line will follow the first one

given days ago the deep sobs les sanglots longs des violons sobbing violins

every school child for seventy years has been made to learn this poem

the second line when it comes blessent mon coeur

refer to a wound heart not a blessèd state of grace

the broken couplet made whole

in the vast night hear the deep sob grow

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Categories: World History | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “D-day, The Deep Sob. A Poetic Tribute by Lorine Parks

  1. St. Lo was one of the key cities to the opening of the Falaise Gap, ultimately allowing the Allies to expel German forces from northern France. The German army occupied the town on 17 June 1940. Being a strategic crossroads, Saint-Lô was almost totally destroyed (95% according to common estimates) during the Battle of Normandy in World War II, earning the title of “The Capital of the Ruins” from Samuel Beckett; it was even questioned whether to rebuild it or to leave the ruins intact as a testimony to the bombing. One American soldier laconically commented: “We sure liberated the hell out of this place”. The name “Saint-Lô”, known since the 8th century, originated from Saint Laud, bishop of Coutances in 525–565, who had a residence there. According to tradition, the town received a new line of walls from Charlemagne in the early 9th century. It was sacked by the Vikings in 890. Later it flourished under the bishop Geffroy de Montbray, who built a bridge and some mills there.

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