For the American Dead at Normandy Cemetery, A Poem by Lynn Levin

Note: Lynn Levin is a poet who lives in Bucks County, not far from where I live. I plan to interview her, so I went to the library and obtained her first poetry book, from which this poem is reprinted with her permission. (See below.) Veterans Day is an opportunity to give thanks to all the men and women who died to keep our country safe. This poem by Lynn Levin is about those who died on the beaches in Normandy, France in WWII.


Photo of the Normandy American Cemetery from


Not for these the world of work and bosses,
of children and the challenge of marriage.
Cross to cross and star to cross, they stand:
nine thousand three hundred eighty-six of them,
Silent as snow upon a perfect lawn.
These are the men who fell as they fought
the blue-eyed fire of their day,
who planned to do their duty and return
to the joys and sorrows of the private life
but for the grave necessities of war.

I want to believe there is a heaven for these men
a place with proper beds, baseball, and warm women,
at least a journey back to endless light.
But I do not know there is a heaven
or what it would be like.
There may only be this quiet city,
this white Elysium on the grass,
and for us the afterlife,
the peace of whitewashed fences and small greenswards,
love and money, ordinary ways,
also the possibility of fire in our days.

“For the American Dead at Normandy Cemetery” is from A Few Questions about Paradise (Loonfeather Press, 2000). Copyright c 2000 by Lynn Levin. Reprinted by permission of the author.

P.S.  Sept. 1, 2014 UPDATE: Lynn now has a website: Check it out!

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