Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Vietnam Memorial

John M. Valentine

Give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. - Isaiah

A threnody for the fallen.
A book of names
spoken softly
on the altars of the heart.
A prayer,
even in the rain and wind,
even in the sun.
The bird opens its wings,
like loving arms
wrapped around the living.
The silence stills.
And when we look
in the mirror of the dead
we see the sad and shining
the whispered names,
the recitation
that stretches from here
to forever,
down the ages,
to the last soldier in the sky.


John M. Valentine is a professor of philosophy at the Savannah College of Art and Design. His poetry has been published in The Sewanee Review, The Southern Poetry Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Snake Nation Review, The Adirondack Review, and others.

© John M. Valentine

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012