Saturday, April 02, 2016

Roadtrip Day 269

Roadtrip Day 269

4/2 Saturday

I decided that I’d write a poem for today’s visit.

On Visiting Arlington National Cemetery with Sakura – 2016

Hard whitecaps breaking on the soft, green swells of Mare Tranquillitatis.
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. Genuine sentiment or cynicism?
Or both simultaneously? Only Horace can say. I cannot.

The Parthians, famed bowmen they, with future ears heard Patton say,
“Make the other poor bastard die for his land!” and sowed Roman corpses on their sand.
Horace answered not, except to caution against Persian opulence.

The Great Temporal River flows ceaselessly. The stars wheel in their sidereal pace.
Imperial Rome that was, is not, the Parthians have shot their final shot,
And I, today, on aged knees, hobble ‘round this hallowed place.

‘neath the broad, verdant bosom of Gaia, individuals lie unspeaking
But not silent. Their existence and deeds proclaimed in stentorian understatement,
Chiseled on the white bones of Mother Earth, a nation’s treasure, resting.

Submariner, seaman, ground-pounder, leatherneck, engineer, seabee, airman,
Private, sergeant, chief, ensign, lieutenant, captain, general, admiral,
Heroic medal-winner, or humble shit-shoveller, all lie in equal measure.

Our sisters, too, share this shallow sea with their fallen brothers, having given their all,
Equally still and silent beneath the undulations of abundant life, both green and floral.
Grass seeking the sun, leaves and flower petals seeking the earth, endlessly cycling above.

The sakura (cherry blossoms), not as many here as near the Babylonian hurly-burly of the Mall,
Magnolia leaves which smell of my New Orleans, and many others, unknown to my lexicon,
All reminding us of the endless gyre and that life and death are entwined in a perpetual dance.

I, adrift in my thoughts, perambulate on rivers of asphalt, ribboned o’er the green swells,
Pausing here and there to read the bare bones of a life, revealed on those myriad whitecaps,
Small and simple or large and complex in their rigid geometry above the organic, verdant surface.

Omnes, requiescatis in pace.


  1. Thanks, Capn. You captured this well and spoke from the heart. Those who have their final resting place there appreciate that.


  2. I appreciate your feelings on this, Ben. Thank you for commenting.

  3. S is really absorbed in Japanese life atm and we've been talking Sakura too but joining those connecting dots in a whole different way.

  4. And I get most of my Japanese connection through kendo and iaido. Chloe was big on manga and anime for a while.