Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, when Americans commemorate their combatants who have died in all wars. For my earlier posts on Remembrance Day, go here, and a second post on the topic, including an American video for Memorial Day, go here.

Shiloh by Herman Melville.

A Requiem.
(April, 1862.)

Skimming lightly, wheeling still,
The swallows fly low
Over the field in clouded days,
The forest-field of Shiloh--
Over the field where April rain
Solaced the parched ones stretched in pain
Through the pause of night
That followed the Sunday fight
Around the church of Shiloh--
The church so lone, the log-built one,
That echoed to many a parting groan
And natural prayer
Of dying foemen mingled there--
Foemen at morn, but friends at eve--
Fame or country least their care:
(What like a bullet can undeceive!)
But now they lie low,
While over them the swallows skim,
And all is hushed at Shiloh.

Among American First World War poets, John Allan Wyeth has recently been rediscovered by critics for his plain language and avoidance of romantic conventions of the time (see here and here).  A famous American World War II poem is The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner (1945) by Randall Jarrell.  One anti-war poem condemning death in the Vietnam War is John Balaban's In Celebration of Spring (discussed here).

In an interview below, Robert Hedin ponders the dearth of poetry coming from soldiers who served in the Gulf War and current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  He also feels that technological changes in weaponry contributed to a decline in the idea of romantic heroism that was expressed up to World War I; this, in his mind, has increased the disillusionment and harsh imagery evident in American war poetry subsequently written.

Interview with Robert Hedin, editor of Old Glory: American War Poems from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terrorism. Audio Source: NPR.

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