Remembrance at the War Museum

[This is an experiment in Sapphic stanzas. I have revised it twice since I first posted it. I wrote it, obviously, after a moving visit, October 11, to Gallery 3 at the War Museum in Ottawa. Gallery 3 features events from 1931 to 1945. I found the experience quite overwhelming: simple things like some of the pamplets from the war brought back memories of my childhood.]

Autumn maples’ usual reds are muted.
Even oaks’ baronial golds glow softer;
leaden clouds deliver dim hints of winter:
seasonal changes.

Wartime papers: grainy old propaganda
In my eyes I feel the emotions rising
triggered by collections of printed booklets
aimed at the children.

Long vestigial memories speed my breathing;
I can feel them gathering in the hallways,
Ghosts of childhood lingering in my memory:
Spirits of wartime.

Words like “freedom”, “glorious”, “victor”, “allies”
Made it seem that fighting and death were magic
said that valour was of itself a promise:
Miracles never.

Sirens, air-raids, shortages, rumours, childhood:
Mired in death and misery of other children
and the cries of others who fell in wartime
Hitler’s excrescence.

I am searching memories for my father
Not expecting much in the way of fondness;
But, surprise: in gallery three I find it.
War II exhibit.

Back I fly through images sounds and nightmares
spitfires music bombing and ration booklets
fears that end in atoms and death forever:
weep for the victims.

Silent woods and grasses outside the building
leave me standing shocked in the autumn evening
here we live in peace but for fading memories:
lest we forget it.

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About riverwriter

Poet, playwright, duplicate bridge player, website designer, cottager, husband, father, grandfather, former athlete, carpenter, computer helper for my friends, theatre designer, backstage polymath, retired teacher of highschool English, drama, art, a baritone singer in a barbershop quartet, who knows what else? wordcurrents is on Facebook: Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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