Poetica Magazine

Poetica Magazine

Normandy in Autumn
by Jessica de Koninck  

The weather has set a suitable tone

for this afternoon trip to Omaha Beach

three quarters of a century after

boats emptied their cargo of boys

onto the rocky shore. A steady rain and brisk

October wind pursues our touring group.

We make our way along the shell-pocked paths

and injured bunkers back to the visitors’

center and heated bus. We stop

along the road, photograph monuments

to those who died, to those who lived.

Despite the weather, the Channel

lies placid and does not argue with the sky

or sand. I walk to water’s edge,

bend to collect a few small stones.

Vacation homes dot the roadside. Fruit trees

bow with apples, cows kneel in pastures,

on and on for miles where soldiers slogged

through mud. We ride uphill to the cemetery.

White marble crosses, white marble stars extend

beyond where I can see. Some hold names,

some the inscription, Known but to God.

On each white star I pass I place one small

sea stone, a symbol of my faith. A sole bugler

sounds Taps as he does each afternoon,

and we stop and we stand in silence.

About the Author

From Montclair, N.J, Jessica de Koninck is the author of Cutting Room and Repairs. Her poems have been featured on the Writer’s Almanac and Verse Daily. She holds an M.F.A. from Stonecoast, B.A. from Brandeis and J.D. from B.U. Jessica co-edits ALTE. For more: www.jessicadekoninck.com.