The Last

Some guy in the miserable convoy

Raised up in the back of our open truck

And threw a can of c-rations at a child

Who called into the rumble for food.

He didn't toss the can, he wound up and hung it

On the child's forehead and she was stunned

Backwards into the dust of our trucks.

Across the sudden angle of the road's curving

I could still see her when she rose

Waving one hand across her swollen, bleeding head,

Wildly swinging her other hand

At the children who mobbed her,

Who tried to take her food.

I grit my teeth to myself to remember that girl Smiling as she fought off her brothers and sisters. She laughed

As if she thought it were a joke And the guy with me laughed And fingered the edge of another can Like it was the seam of a baseball Until his rage ripped Again into the faces of children Who called to us for food.

Notebook ALL LEVELS

For Poets Using the Visionary Method

Review the basic types of war poems included in the introduction, excluding "The Farewell" and "The Chronicle." In other words, since you have not experienced leaving loved ones to go to war, or experienced war itself, you will focus on:

A War Prayer. (Unlike Herrick's example, make yours related to war —perhaps a prayer for peace, instead of for victory.)

A Tribute. (Praise a warrior or leader, living or dead, or someone who tried to intervene or end a war.)

An Invective. (Mock a warrior or leader, living or dead, or someone who tried to intervene or end a war.)

A Historical Poem. (Re-create a battle or event in which you have a vested or personal interest.)

A Memorial. (Commemorate the dead in a particular battle based on a researched account in which you have a vested or personal interest.)

A Character Study. (Imagine yourself in a warrior's boots or as someone who has to tend to the mangled.)

An Elegy. (Eulogize the fallen by setting your poem in a cemetery or national monument.)

A Protest. (Express your intense political views in an anti- or prowar poem.)

Base at least ten ideas on any or all of the above categories.

For Poets Using the Eyewitness Method

Generate at least seven ideas for poems based on any of the examples above except the first (a war prayer). Draw on research instead of your war experience. Then tap that experience by basing at least three more ideas on:

The Prayer. (Come up with ideas for prayers you would have made before, during and after your war experience.)

The Farewell. (Describe how it felt to leave a person, town, loved one, etc., as you went off to war . . . and then how it felt to leave a person, town or loved one behind in the war zone when you returned home.)

The Chronicle. (Base ideas on combat or the results of combat or some other incident that happened during the war.)

Chapter Six

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