LiturgicalCredo.com LiturgicalCredo.com                  Poetry              
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Six Poems by Gail Peck
Gail Peck writes, All of these six poems will be included in the new
manuscript I am currently working on.  It is tentatively titled “Counting
the Lost Children.”  After my last book of poetry, I challenged myself to
write poems based on works of art, and not be solely dependent upon
autobiography.  However, since I know the power of memory and
personal experience, I wanted to include poems that are
autobiographical, in part or in whole.  My stepfather was in the Army,
and stationed in Berlin during 1957-1960.  While I was too young to
absorb all the history of Berlin at that time, it later became an abiding
interest for me, and seems now to have found its natural place in my
work.   
   
One, For Praise
In the photograph I’ve framed
he’s with his company,
standing in Berlin’s snow,
everyone wearing a beret.
It was what he did best,
this chain-of-command.

And years later while in Vietnam
he was incensed to know
our flag was being burned in U.S. streets,
worn as a patch on blue jeans.

He lied about his age
to join up—the 101st Airborne,
Screaming Eagles, worked his way
to Sergeant’s stripes, and led us three girls  
onto fields where jets flew over.
Yes Sir, we answered at attention
knowing not to question.
When finally he sat hollow-eyed,
staring in the V.A. Hospital,
we could speak our peace.
He nodded while that caged parrot
in the waiting area said,
Hello, Hello,
and sparrows came to the window’s ledge.

Joni was crying so hard at the funeral,
the elderly veteran placed the folded flag
onto her lap.  I pointed to our mother—
Anyone can make mistakes, he said.

The salute of guns in the distance
startled us.  I was thinking how once
my stepfather told me he became
a paratrooper for the extra pay,
and how he must have felt that first time in the
plane
watching the line get shorter,
until it was his turn to stand in the doorway,
then step out.
Six Poems by Gail Peck

Table of Contents

1. Lullaby

2. One, For Praise

3.
Prams at Auschwitz

4. Rest

5. The Goblets

6. Woman Reflecting

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