EP&M Poem

Basic Training Graduation Day, Fort Leonard Wood, 7/11/02
(on my son's graduation from Army Basic Training)
        by Frederick Turner

Young soldiers' faces open as the sky

Bark out the army songs they learned by heart--

Lost boys and girls who promised they would die

If the republic called them to their part:

After nine weeks of ritual suffering

Under the ruthless discipline and drill,

All of their former lives become a thing

Lost like a dream in the cold morning chill;

The mothers in the crowd can't recognize

Which of these shaved heads lay once on their breast;

Those tall young giants will not turn their eyes

To smile upon the one who loves them best;

And all the colors in this Ozark dawn

Glow now as if the world had been reborn.

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