Richard Greene

In Memory Of - Poem by Richard Greene

Another World War II pilot gone.
Obit on a back page of the Times
“Pilot who downed Yamamoto dies at 84.”
A photo of three lean young men in khakis
looking as if they never could be 80
posed in front of a fighter plane
Pacific palms in the background.
He began high school about the time I was born
and I began it the year he downed the infamous admiral.
My cousin Bob was a fighter pilot in that war,
so much a part of my adolescent imagination,
and it’s almost as if the young man in the photo,
now, unbelievably, deceased,
were my kin.
Obit the same day for Percy Goring,106,
last British survivor of Gallipoli.
When I was a boy it was the last veteran of the Civil War
and, when a young man, the Spanish American.
For earlier generations it was the Revolutionary
the Hundred Years, the Punic, the Persian,
always one within reach of living memory,
and always some last veteran
to nurture
nostalgia for old wars.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, December 15, 2005

Poem Edited: Tuesday, April 26, 2011

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