At PJ Media, I write about the poetry of the late Richard Hugo, a bombardier during the Second World War, as a way of remembering our fallen guardians:
His 1969 collection “Good Luck in Cracked Italian” distills many of the feelings he took with him from his combat missions in Europe. Here, for example, is the opening stanza of “G.I. Graves in Tuscany”:
They still seem G.I., the uniform lines
of white crosses, the gleam that rolls
white drums over the lawn. Machines
that cut the grass left their maneuvers plain.
Our flag doesn’t seem silly though plainly
it flies only because there is wind.
The last two lines might strike you as flippant. But what appears to be frivolity or cynicism, in a Hugo poem, often turns out to be simple bewilderment: something seen through the eyes of a broken man whose honesty has an unintended comic effect.