(10/14/1944) Normandie in June

Normandie in June

There is a pestilence abroad upon the land

There is a plague; it is the plague of War

And it leaves a foulness upon the air.

It is the sickly sweet corruption of

the unattended dead

The dusky smell of charcoal in

the cannon rubbled streets

And there are those who live in this pestilence

And those who go forward to die in it.

And they have known strange things, these men,

Things filthy, and foul, and corrupt.

And they have known beautiful things, these men,

Things clean, and corageous, and magnificant.

And they have strange memories:

The acid taste of champagne in

a metal canteen cup

The lonely graves of soldiers by

the ever teeming roads

The tragedy of gliders wrapped

around the stumps of trees

And bullet riddled parachutes

that flutter in the breeze

Dead tankers in burned chariots

who look like slaughtered sheep

Dead Germans, and dead cattle, and

the guns that shatter sleep.

This is the pestilence, this is the plague,

And this is Normandie, in June.

— Grady L. McMurtry
10/14/44 e.v.

Note: Originally published in Thelema Lodge Calendar, June 1992.