Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Eleventh Hour

My father, during the Korean War

Veteran's Day, eleventh month, eleventh day. Men and women fight many kinds of wars, and survive or die.

Chemo Strikes the Child’s Colossus

Black hair streaked with silver
slithered down the drain.
As far as he could see down
the long white length of him
down the slick white walls,
his dark hair swept.

Did he clutch at straws.
Did he lift rough hands in disbelief
before he laid his face in them.
Not moving, making no sound,
who was he then:
the bald man bowing
head to the water
to the unknown?


Alan Burnett said...

Very moving, full of imagery : perfect poem to match the day.

The Bug said...

Chris, this is very poignant - and timely for me. I don't even know yet whether the nodules in my right breast are cancer (I have another scan on Tuesday), but I've already started wondering what it would be like if I lost my hair. My husband says I go straight from A to Z without any stops in between - and that is so true!

Woman in a Window said...

The poem is incredible to me, a moment I've never thought to consider. Truly fricken love this poem, Chris. And now I laugh, what does the title refer to? Why the child's colossus? Because every man in the face of war is a child? Oh, maybe. That would be very good. (Sorry. I laugh at myself. I find poetry difficult sometimes and I always want a literal translation but because I write poetry, I should know better.)


Brian Miller said...

dang...hard one to read...thansk to all who served and the fmailie they left...

Syd said...

A sad thing--chemicals go in to kill the bad cells but also kill the good ones too. A life and death struggle that goes on for so many every day.

Monkey Man said...

Wow. Just wow.

Myrna R. said...

Sad, so tender and written with such respect. Lovely poem. War of country or body is treacherous. Did your Dad die of colon cancer?

Enchanted Oak said...

He was my Colossus, Erin. I was a young girl, and he was my giant.

Karen said...

Breaks my heart, this one.

Kim A. said...

A picture painted that touched my heart. I may have smoked 25 years but I am trying to quit again..9 weeks so far. I am doing it one day at a time because I don't want to look back, undergoing chemo, thinking I should have quit. Powerful stuff today.


Magpie said...

Very sad, but not all moments that move our hearts are happy. It's hard to see our fathers as mortals and vulnerable. Very touching, Chris.

the walking man said...

He was the same hero when he got out of the shower as he was when he went in. We know what we serve and disease isn't one of them.

Julie said...

I love your poem, Chris. It is moving and powerful. It made me cry. That is one of the reasons I love it, if that makes any sense at all. My Dad is fighting for his life right now. It may be years...or not. He is also a veteran. It's awful to watch what was a strong person slowly go. Still, I don't want him to go. What a roller coaster of emotions.

The ending of your poem captures those feelings perfectly. The question...the unknown. I'm sorry you lost your Dad as a young girl. That must have been awful. But thank you for sharing your father here. I love his picture. It moved me very much.

Totalfeckineejit said...

More great poetry blooming from difficulty, Chris. By co-incidence I'm publishing a poem in PB2 (poetry Bus issue 2) by an octagenarian Korean war veteran.

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