Anthony Di'anno

(North Yorkshire)

It Haunts Me Still


Many years have passed yet diminished not,
The youth that skipped upon your smiling face,
The memory burns ever unforgot,
As though branded into permanent place,

We had been up all night swapping stories,
Stifling laughter amid the stifling peace,
Whispering tales of girls and their glories,
Unaware of fragility in life's lease,

You stood tall, so very tall my good friend,
I heard you call, saw you fall, heard you scream,
You seemed so small, very small come your end,
As I watched you crawl through a blooded stream,

We were brothers who were far too willing,
To exchange life for sovereign's shilling.

Submitted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Edited: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

This sonnet is about the death of my best friend. We were soldiers in the British Army and had spent the night observing an enemy position. At first light we were given the order to move forward and thirty minutes later he lay dead. We were both twenty years old. I carried his coffin to his final resting place and thirty two years on it haunts me still.

Comments about this poem (It Haunts Me Still by Anthony Di'anno )

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  • Charles Bernabi (6/14/2014 10:05:00 AM)

    Fantastic sonnet and powerful piece about the loss of your best friend. Not sure about what war you're referring to but anyhow it doesn't matter as all wars are a terrible thing to bear for all concerned, especially when a loved one dies with their boots on. Very sad story you tell there within this perfect sonnet. (Report) Reply

  • Daniel Brick (3/29/2014 11:37:00 AM)

    This poem's power comes from its truth. The contrast between your conversation at night about the ordinary things all young men are drawn to and the violence and death in the morning hits so hard. In a sense, you wrote two poems: the sonnet is a formal poem which pays homage to your friend with the gravitas of traditional form and meter; your prose comment states his story in direct simple language. Both approaches fulfill the task of remembrance which is our essential duty to our dead. My cousin committed suicide because of the psychic wounds he carried for decades because of Vietnam, that terrible war. I was just talking about him yesterday with one of my aunts. Your poem reminds me I have a task to fulfill toward Jimmy. (Report) Reply

  • Noreen Carden (3/24/2014 7:02:00 AM)

    A beautiful tribute. The fact that you carry his memory so lovingly means he will never die. Really terrific poem. (Report) Reply

  • Lynne Fincherspringarden (3/23/2014 7:13:00 AM)

    A beautiful tribute to a dearest friend. So touching and heart breaking. One can never get over the void left by losing a close friend or loved one. The only comfort really is in knowing that they are not truly lost but are continuing on their journey. (Report) Reply

  • Smoky Hoss (3/10/2014 5:12:00 PM)

    A powerful and honorable poem, no other words are necessary, it is perfect in it's great love. (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (3/9/2014 11:03:00 PM)

    .....like kanav I too got a chill come over me after reading this write and the poet's notes....war should be abolished from the planet...sometimes I wonder how men can be so smart and fly to the moon...and be so dumb and kill each other...I wish you never had to experience this...my sympathies are with you.... (Report) Reply

  • Kanav Justa (3/9/2014 9:51:00 AM)

    .. when i read the notes section.. and then re read the poem... i had no words for this one... it sent a chill through my spine... i will add this to my wishlist... a superb poem this is... (Report) Reply

  • Valsa George (3/4/2014 10:08:00 AM)

    It is such a touching tale Anthony.... I can visualize the stony expression on your face, as soldiers are not supposed to shed tears and are supposed to exhibit brazen courage, though inside, the heart may be broken into a thousand shards....! Even time cannot erase such poignant memories.... A sonnet of great pathos. A 10 for this moving write! (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Anderson (3/1/2014 2:24:00 PM)

    A gripping, impactfully written sonnet.Those final lines tells it like it is. It was stirring and brought back some jarring memories. -Done with great sadness, but a tremendous write (Report) Reply

  • Ed Nigma (2/28/2014 8:38:00 AM)

    Nobody can grasp the effects of war better then those that have served or been in a war they weren't really apart of. This poem has a gripping sensation that reminds you just how fragile humans are and how our time can be cut short at any moment. Great write! (Report) Reply

  • Lyn Paul (2/27/2014 5:50:00 PM)

    Such painful memories Anthony. May you too remember those great stories that you swapped. I thank you for sharing these beautiful words (Report) Reply

  • Susan Lacovara (2/26/2014 5:08:00 PM)

    Incredibly powerful and speaks well of the high rank of friendship, comrades in not only arms, but in heart. You pay fine tribute to your felled friend...May you be haunted by the ghosts of glorious memories....I invite you to read my poem, Thank A Veteran, Everyday....least we forget their sacrifices...PEACE (Report) Reply

  • Hazel Durham (2/26/2014 10:04:00 AM)

    So beautifully written, with the memories of your best friend, as he stood so tall in his short life. You have written with such fondness and respect of a friendship that will always be part of your life. (Report) Reply

  • Colleen Courtney (2/26/2014 7:14:00 AM)

    Wonderful, touching, and yet heartbreaking.
    I love the lines, the memory burns ever unforgot, as though branded into permanent place.
    This is a beautiful tribute to your long lost but never to be forgotten friend. (Report) Reply

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