December 3, 2010

I mis-remembered some lines of a sonnet to a soldier by Rupert Brooke. “…and if my body can’t be found, go find a few who give a damn, and tell them that in a far-off troubled land, there is a little plot of ground that will be forever England.” Brooke’s lines actually read thus: “If I should die, think only this of me: that there’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever England.”
Brooke’s wonderful lines remind me of the spot in the midst of a savage land where Pat Tillman died. To me, that will always be a holy place.
The medic mused by a nameless hill

Where an infidel had fought and fell

For freedom Afghans knew not of,

Robbed by Allah of life and love.

The  rocks  he  touched in the land of death

Seemed poisoned by the Prophet’s breath,

Yet a worthless slope is a sacred place,

Purged and  pure, like a state of grace.

He  saw  Tillman’s rifle on the ground…

Then thoughts were muddled by the sound

Of whirring blades whirling dust around,

And from the chopper the pilot frowned,

But  the  wind  sang soft, as if at play,

And whispered something as he walked away.

–written at Christmas 2010, jd

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