Online Anthology of Lyrical Audio Poetry in Modern English, recorded by Walter Rufus Eagles ad majorem Dei gloriam poetry for the ear in the tradition of Homer

A personal literature and arts website.  Click HERE for our editorial policy or to record your comments.  Click on the red logo to return to home page.

War Chorus: Reunion That Never Was (2003)
In memory of my Marine buddy, Kenneth McReynolds, who was killed "after action" in 1954 in Yong Dong Po, Korea.  He was strangled from behind with piano wire while he was walking night watch, by a North Korean commando who had infiltrated, under cloak of darkness, the U. S. Air Force Base at which we were stationed.

Click on the title above to hear the reading by the poet.     

by Walter Rufus Eagles

Inspired by the instrumental musical cycle, Fratres, by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, and by the mountain bluegrass music loved by PFC Kenneth McReynolds, USMC, who died half a century ago in Yong Dong Po, Korea,  too far from Kentucky.

At least it would be green this spring, that distant valley

Where they fought a seeming century ago in black and white.

Back then blood and the lipstick of movie stars looked black,

And all were brothers in a cause they swore they'd cross the Styx for.

There they lived and fought in moral danger past despair.

They believed in flinty, inorganic creeds that,

Never having lived, could never really die.

Believed.  Loved.  Mostly loved.  And sometimes died.


Imagine then, one morning, soup in tin cans warming hands

To dreadful tasks ahead for the day.  First

There was McReynolds on guard duty the night before.

Piano wire.  Kentucky bluegrass in his head now silent.

And then, ah!  then there was the dead enemy's face,

Intent, supine forever toward his own Korean sky until they

Dumped his own soil on his eyes, spade after spade.

Since they had loved, and sometimes died themselves, 

Their later noontime darkness of the soul

Could never quite obscure the little light of inner sky

Where those same fields would lie fallow in the mind,

Ready for a life of sun and seed in some future

Year of their reunion, to be shot in Kodachrome

When death bells would have ceased their knells,

And blood would once again mean brotherhood

And not that warm and sticky stuff

That covered their hands back then, and would do so

Forty years thenceforward in their dreams.


Agamemnon must have known the feeling,

Coming home unclean at sunset. Had they known,

They could have hoped the price of freedom

Would not be quite so high for them.

"Remember the Alamo!" - trick is, how to forget?



Sun Valley, California
Written, recorded and published to the World Wide Web, March 27, 2003 0505 GMT

Copyright 2003, 2004 Walter Rufus Eagles.  All rights reserved.

Your browser does not support embedded audio files.