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Bullet Holes & War

by Brian Fuchs

Here they lie, Daddy.
Here they lie.
They are here - still here.
They lie here, still, Daddy.
Under this dirt, they lie here,
Daddy - under this dirt and
this grass and dirt and grass.
They lie here still, Daddy -
under this dirt and grass.
They are still, Daddy,
sent under this dirt and grass -
by bullet holes and war.
The bullet holes killed them,
Daddy, and now
they lie here still, under
this dirt and grass.
The war and bullet holes
killed them, Daddy -
bullet holes in their heads -
and this is where they lie.
Yes, under this dirt and grass,
Daddy, this is where they lie.
Too many, Daddy, too many
to count. Too many died, Daddy.
Too many lie here - under
this dirt and grass -
too many lie here still.
The war and bullet holes
killed too many, Daddy, and
they lie here - under this dirt
and grass.
Forgive them, Daddy -
they didn't know - they didn't
mean to die. They didn't want
to kill and didn't mean to die.
Forgive them, Daddy.
The bullet holes and war killed
them - and here they lie, under
this dirt and grass.
Too many of them didn't know -
didn't mean to die.
Forgive them, Daddy,
forgive them.
Too many that lie here still
(yes, under this dirt and grass)
didn't want to kill.
Here they lie, Daddy,
under this dirt and grass.
Forgive them for dying -
for killing - forgive them, Daddy.
Under this dirt and
under this grass, where they lie.
The war and bullet holes killed
them, Daddy, and here they lie.
Can you blame them?
Forgive them, Daddy, forgive.
Here they lie - they lie still -
under this dirt and grass.

07/22/1999

Author's Note: Inspired by "If I Told Him" by Gertrude Stein, I wanted to write something with the same kind of rhythm and repetition. In "If I Told Him," Stein switches gears a few times and still manages to be consistent with the repeating lines. I never switch gears here. This is one of the few poems I've written that didn't get completely rewritten after a couple of years, but I don't know if I quite accomplished what I intended to. Still, I like it.

Posted on 02/25/2009
Copyright © 2020 Brian Fuchs

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Joan Serratelli on 02/25/09 at 01:08 AM

I don't know what to say. i'm a child of a WW11 vet. He never talked about the war- the killing, the bulletholes- nothing. The repetiveness really got to me. I could see a young child talking to his father about the atrocities of war.Stunning work! I like it also- very good work!

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