Pvt. Paul Oglesby, 30th Infantry, standing in reverence before an altar in a damaged Catholic Church. Note: pews at left appear undamaged, while bomb-shattered roof is strewn about the sanctuary. Acerno, Italy. Benson, September 23, 1943.

A crowded conference room,
A cloud of tobacco smoke,
Ashtrays filled with cigarette and cigar butts.
Eager faces, tired faces, sick faces, fit faces.
The constant rustle of paper.
Big men sitting in their appointed places
Saying nothing, knowing all.
Lesser men who do the work, minds honed to a razor’s edge.
Lesser men with souls, lesser men without,
Behind whom sit their servers as at High Mass.

Men who have misgivings:
“Must we bleed on two fronts instead of one?”
Mad men who know only their star,
From whom for man’s sake the bit must be hidden
Men who pity men. Men who know only machines:
“Now if four hundred 2 1/2 ton trucks loaded to a capacity
of five tons are required to land a minimum maintenance
supply on D+I, how many trucks will be required if…”
Men who sit apart with expressionless eyes,
Mummies, friendless, still.
Many-headed men, whispering together, deciding play.
Men of world stature with intoxicating tongues.
Men who come and go with wood and water.
Is this the innocence of guilt, the jigsaw of justice?

– William Woodruff


2 responses

  1. matthew


    Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 17:22

  2. dp

    nice one

    Sunday, October 24, 2010 at 01:47

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