Art Works Blog

Poems of War and Remembrance for Memorial Day

To all of our armed forces men and women, we say thank you for your service. As we pause this Monday to remember all those who have given their lives for their country, here are six poems that meditate on war and remembrance. (Click on the title for the full text of the poem.)

“Memorial Day for the War Dead” by Yehudi Amichai

Memorial day for the war dead. Add now
the grief of all your losses to their grief,
even of a woman that has left you…

“the sonnet-ballad” by Gwendolyn Brooks

They took my lover’s tallness off to war,
Left me lamenting. Now I cannot guess
What I can use an empty heart-cup for.

“Spoken from the Hedgerows” by Jorie Graham

If death comes, friend, let it come quick.
And don’t play the hero, there is no past or future. Don’t play
the hero. Ok. Let’s go. Move out. Say goodbye.

"Three Mathew Brady Photographs" by Eric Hankey

“Such a long exposure
To affix the fallen,
(Staged or happened upon,)
Abandoned to this ditch.”

“The Long Deployment” by Jehanne Dubrow

“And then he’s gone. Not even the conceit     
of him remains, not the resinous base.    
    For weeks, I breathed his body in the sheet.    
He was bitter incense paired with something sweet.”       

"Memorial Day" by Reginald Gibbons

“…Even if no grief
shadows the bugler, bugles
do sound it, word it—that
unacceptable sentence
of slow notes.”

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