Friday, April 25, 2014

Anzac Day Poem: "Eulogy" by Brian Turner

It happens on a Monday, at 11:20 A.M.,

as tower guards eat sandwiches

and seagulls drift by on the Tigris River.

Prisoners tilt their heads to the west

though burlap sacks and duct tape blind them.

The sound reverberates down concertina coils

the way piano wire thrums when given slack.

And it happens like this, on a blue day of sun,

when Private Miller pulls the trigger

to take brass and fire into his mouth:

the sound lifts the birds up off the water,

a mongoose pauses under the orange trees,

and nothing can stop it now, no matter what

blur of motion surrounds him, no matter what voices

crackle over the radio in static confusion,

because if only for this moment the earth is stilled,

and Private Miller has found what low hush there is

down in the eucalyptus shade, there by the river.

PFC B. MILLER (1980-March 22, 2003)

     by Brian Turner

Brian Turner is an American poet.  We, here in Aotearoa/New Zealand, have a prominent poet called Brian Turner too. Our Brian Turner lives down in Otago and didn't see service in Iraq.

Brian Turner, the American one, was interviewed on Radio New Zealand National this morning. He read out a poem he'd written that had been inspired by an event that happened when he got back from Iraq. 

Upon returning to the States from service in Iraq, Turner attended a parade which was held at his Brigade's base. The Brigade's Colonel gave a speech at the parade in which he listed all the men who had not made it home from Iraq with the rest of the Brigade. 

Except for one.  Private First Class B. Miller.  

To hear the Podcast from Radio New Zealand National , here is the link:

1 comment:

  1. I find myself in awe of the US poet Brian Turner every time I encounter him. Thank you for posting this poem this week. And the podcast. Really good stuff. This poet should be required reading for school kids. In my opinion.