November 11, 2014
PFC George Daborn

PFC George Daborn, 1941

Picture a dimly lit cellar,

an ancient wooden work bench,

hammers, hand saws, planes, and nails,

sawdust-coated mysteries.


Enter now a young boy,

silent, curious, alone,

the basement world of his father

draws him slowly in.


See the rusty cookie tin

far back on the bottom shelf,

a hidden place the small boy

had never before ventured.


Open, find the bullets there,

long and strangely heavy,

the brassy cartridge ending

in dull gray pointed tip.


Reach back even farther still,

the dwelling place of spiders;

touch metal — cold, smooth, sharp,

the bayonet pulled from the darkness.


Sit now on the living room floor,

plastic soldier battlefield

spread about in ordered rows,

attack in silent glory.


Ask the quiet man who’s there,

the unseen scars within,

Daddy, did you kill someone

when you were in the war?


Remember still his answer

frozen in that moment,

solemn, sudden, startling,

from someplace deep inside.


Sing a song of sixpence,

A shot glass full of rye.

Daddy came back from the war,

but memories don’t die.


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