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On the chinese wall

A True War Story

My firend's uncle was a Marine in Korea. His squad comes to a cluster of huts smoke drifting up from one. The sergeant orders him to go into that hut, to kill everyone inside. He steps cautiously through the door and waits for his eyes to adjust. In the dim light he sees a Korean grandmother, terrified children huddled up against her. He squeezes the trigger on his M1, empties it into the thatched roof, and steps back out through that doorway. No one speaks. Back home, when he tells the old people what he has done, they give him a new name: He-Who-Takes-Pity-On-His-Enemy, and make him the Giver-of-Names for new-born children.

from On the Chinese Wall - New & Selected Poems 1966 — 2018

On the Chinese Wall by Roger Dunsmore

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