Get Your Premium Membership

Bleeding Before Rome -1

The bombers began to bleed
their heavy tears of death
from 20,000 feet above the breathless battlefield, 
B-17 Flying Fortress formations
moving with apocalyptic aplomb
the shadows of high metal crosses by the hundreds
rippling along the rugged roman earth
bringing a crescending growl and the blind bomb,
defenders of the Gustav Line sat low
in concealed holes waiting for hell
smelling the sounds of a rushing scorch,
feeling the percussion of irrevocable panic
for in these ungodly moments
life was no longer theirs to expect,
either obliteration into wet dust
or resurrection into ruthless warfare
would be the soldier's legacy, 
Allied forces on the outskirts
of this unbridled bombardment
experienced a surreal sympathy for the entrenched enemy, 
every explosive burst
shocked their souls one step further
into this war's smoldering agony
where victory's luster looked more and more
like a reflection of burning insanity, 
the American 5th Army and British 8th
shared combat and confused humanity together
from Syracuse to the beaches of Salerno
saddling the spine of Italy's mountainous spikes
treking northwards into the Nazi winter hinterlands,
Britain's Commonwealth regiments were cast
from territories vast and volatile, 
New Zealand Irish Scots, Indian Punjabi, 
and Gurkha mountaineers from Himalayan Nepal,
French Foreign Legions that adopted
Moroccan daggers and Algerian amorality,
this was the Second Front of strategic slaughter
that Churchill and Stalin had barked for,
the butcher's bill for Normandy's upcoming beachheads,
the battle of Kursk in the East in '43
nearly broke the Russian Bear
this Italian theater was a desperate spear,
Monte Cassino's 6th century Benedictine Abbey
was more than a fort of Christian faith
it was a fortress overseeing Highway 6
the road to Rome and the Devil's fist,
walls of solid bone masonry 10 feet thick
having heights of 150 feet on a peak 1,800 feet tall,
from this colossal structure atop a mountain
German artillery spotters could pinpoint and pummel
Allied troop movements with immediate precision
while machine gunners, Nebelwerfers and mortar crews
would be enabled to effectuate their destruction efficiently, 
international law forbade the use or assault by military means
of this historic landmark, it was organic history
frescos of Genesis, an alter to God by Michelangelo
woodwork of Medieval work ethic
porticos inspired by the Pax Romana
and a library of genius groomed by intellectual love -

J.A.B.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2017




Post Comments
Please Login to post a comment
Date: 9/2/2017 3:23:00 PM
I have also read this on a while ago, just havent got to commenting on it it, so here I am! "either obliteration into wet dust or resurrection into ruthless warfare would be the soldier's legacy" such fascinating lines here...the ones before the ones i quoted were also a bit chilling, in a good way..."where victory's luster looked more and more like a reflection of burning insanity.." Love those lines as well. Onto the next section. Always,Laura
Login to Reply
Bordner Avatar
Justin Bordner
Date: 9/6/2017 2:28:00 PM
Yes bright Poetess, here you are, luminous as fresh rose ink on my thoughts...no time or poetry is wasted in bringing the heart and mind into this theater of inimitable combat Laura. The landscape, the machines, weapons, history, strategy and feelings are on full display in this poem, I am very happy that you appreciate this work...J.A.B.