One Single Impression: Dropped


Silence falls in drops like rain:
A sprinkle, a shower, a fall,
Then a deluge
That sweeps me away
In the vast and merciless
Mystery of itself
No up or down,
No daylight or dark
In this secret space.

So it is.

Silence is a watery death.

What do you say to, for, about
A drowned man
A young man
A loved man
A beautiful man
Who died at sea

Riveted to his battle station
And believing above all else
In the mother who sent out his
Christmas cards

Because he was too busy
Having fun

Before that last patrol?

Silence is a watery death.

I'd go there for the answer--
What was it like to be you, to be there, 
To do this thing?--

But I'd want to come back
And tell it over and over
Again.

The photo above is my great-grandfather, Harvey Isbell (left), and his fourth child, Laurence Isbell. Laurence served on the USS Herring and was lost at sea when the Japanese sank his submarine. My Uncle Bud (Allan Isbell) took this photo in my great-grandfather's backyard before Uncle Laurence left home for his last tour in 1944.

One Single Impression

Comments

  1. How appropriate for Memorial Day weekend. Yet, another simply beautiful poem. Who is the person in the photograph in uniform?

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  2. If I would have to guess,you are talking about a submariener.

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  3. Wonderful poem, Sandy.
    Great thought.

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  4. My husband served 20 years in the military and I know there were and still are too many who are silenced far too soon in this lifetime.

    Very true and well-written piece.

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  5. Nice one of these heroes!

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  6. Brilliant post. You are a star writer!

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  7. There's a poignancy to this. Marvellous.

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  8. Such sadness and heartbreak in this, Sandy. To be left behind to suffer the silence is sadder still.

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  9. lovely poem, there are so many that were lost in battles and still are. focusing on their joyous reunions with loved ones in the next life helps ease some of the sorrow. life and families continue...

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  10. A photo to cherish. A perfect tribute.

    changing orbits

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  11. Thank you for sharing this piece of family history and your haunting, lovely poem to match. Peace, JP/deb

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  12. They die for us, Sandy. But why do they have to die? Let's hope Obama finds a way to end it all and keep our beautiful young men and women alive...

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  13. Sandy-just a beautiful poem-in memory of a true hero. Love the photo.

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  14. I could hear the silence descending. Great tribute. Poignant photo, so young. Thanks for your comment, at my blog captured so brilliantly what I feel.

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  15. this was so sad to read but what a beautiful tribute Sandy. well done!

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  16. When I think of the brave soldiers who died and then look at the world and people they died for to keep free, who have no respect for what they did and have no understanding that they are allowed to speak, have feelings of disrespect, dishonor etc.. because these men and women died to give them this freedom... it really makes me wonder.
    I think the problem lies not in war, nor in soldiers but in the leaders we choose who are not chosen to lead but to follow
    what they say the people want.
    But is it what the people want or what the pressure groups want.?
    So many things wrong with our election system today.
    We have lost our vision and vision is important to have.:)

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  17. I, too, lost an uncle in the Pacific. He was POW for several years and then went down when his Red Cross ship was torpedoed. Thank you for this poem.

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  18. .. great tribute .. happy memorial day ..

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  19. Hi Sandy, this is a wonderful, and sad, poem. It is very appropriate for this Memorial Holiday. It also shows that those who died were only human like us.
    ..
    Mrs. Jim's brother, Eugene, died in WWII shortly before she was born. His plane (a P38) was shot down over the Mediteranian and neither him nor his plane was found.
    His human 'fraility' was to lie about his age so that he could enlist.
    I am sure some of your 'drops of water' drowned him if he didn't have a heart attack going down.
    ..

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  20. The last two verses captured me. With the photo, your poem so poignantly captures the watery silence of him who went down at sea.

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  21. The first stanza has such powerful images "silence falls in drops like rain"!! A very evocative poem, and a wonderful tribute.

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  22. How sad for your family. A beautiful tribute.

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  23. One of the most powerful poems you have ever written Sandy, my Dear Friend! The images and the love and the sorrow are beyond compare! Thank you for sharing such a treasure with us!

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  24. Tis a sad and yet well told story.
    So sorry it is part of your families history.

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  25. Touching post. Your poetry is so full of question and imagery that it caused me to reflect on all those who suffered the same fate.

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  26. the repetition makes this more powerful

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  27. Sandy,
    Reading this gave me chills. As I was making breakfast yesterday I thought of my father's cousin who I had heard stories about during my childhood. He was my Dad's hero. His name was Billy Korhnarians and he died in a submarine as well. I thought about his young life cut short and thanked him for giving up his life. Recently his submarine was recovered.

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  28. Great tribute Sandy. Nice poem to accompany the sentiment. Pappy

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  29. Sandy--
    Thanks for sharing this piece of your ancestry with us--so many of us have these kinds of stories to tell--and probably should.

    Jewish wisdom: 'you're never dead until you're forgotten'.

    Love to you, Sandy--

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  30. Sandy~ beautiful tribute to your uncle. Aren't family photos and stories fascinating?

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  31. im sure he's proud of you sandy as much as you do with him.

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  32. Silence is a watery death. You have spared him from his loneliness and released us from the oblivion of forgetting with your transcendent tribute.

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