A BRONZE PIETÀ - Our Poet's November Poem

The Vietnam Women's Memorial

                        When King Arthur lay sore-wounded,
                        After battle in fog and mist,
                        By three Queens was he surrounded,
                        And his bleeding wounds they kissed,

                        At length came a barge, slow-sailing,
                        They carried him safe aboard,
                        With prayers and a woeful wailing
                        Commended him to the Lord,

                        Then with him, to a blessèd harbor
                        On the green Isle of Avalon,
                        They voyaged, in peaceful arbor
                        He was tended and wept upon.

                        And there, but for Queens attending,
                        Had this warrior not been mourned,
                        No happy and joyous ending,
                        Nor laurels his brow adorned.

                        But here, in the Monument's shading,
                        Three young Queens tend to their charge,
                        Yet nursing a young life fading,
                        Begone! to that funeral barge—

                        One looks to the sky, expectant,
                        And one to the earth, in prayer,
                        The third, with hand resurrectant,
                        Bids Death stay his cold claw there.

                        How strong! How divine! How tender
                        The touch of a loving hand,
                        Refusing to grant surrender
                        Of this youth under her command!

*This statuary group, on the grounds of the greater Viet Nam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., done by sculptress Glenna Goodacre, stands as a tribute to the more than 260,000 women of all branches who served in that war. The names of eight nurses who died on active duty are engraved on the Wall.

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