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Epoch Vantage Point: A Generational Poem

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I’ve enjoyed writing for many years. I'm dedicating more time to the craft in my retirement days.

LA Examiner "War Extra" front page, 13 October 1942.  One month later, in the ongoing battle in the Solomons, all five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo, Iowa would die when their ship, the USS Juneau, was sunk south of San Cristobol Island.

LA Examiner "War Extra" front page, 13 October 1942. One month later, in the ongoing battle in the Solomons, all five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo, Iowa would die when their ship, the USS Juneau, was sunk south of San Cristobol Island.

For Generations to Come

It isn’t this one
It’s the next one
That’ll feel the effects
Of the things we’ve done

Or haven’t
Maybe should have
Definitely could have
Proof to that end
Lives in a ration card
From when times were really hard
Not hard like now
But a shared, universally difficult hard
A tiny shard
Of a glorious, shattering past
Whose meaning is drifting away today
So fast
The card has my dad’s name on it
And his mom’s
My grandma
So when she went to the store
She could have this much
But no more
Because of the war
Being fought by a different generation
Named the greatest

Sacrifice was the first word
In the vernacular
Entitlement didn’t seem plausible
Sensical
Look into a crystal ball
South of San Cristobal
November ‘42
There’s something there for you
In the boiling red ocean
The Sullivan quintet
In the USS Juneau
Down below
This is where they met
Their end
I try on some days
To think of the ways
And the many, many, many days
Their mama must have mourned
In Waterloo, Iowa
For her progeny
An entire family
Lost at sea
In a fight
Worth fighting
Against an idea worth crushing
And a situation
That threatened the next generation
Unnamed at the time

Boomers
We now know
The next up and comers
Say it’s so
And they say, "Ok!"
On some days
With disrespect
Or is it disdain?
Perhaps it’s the twain
But the fact still remains
The result of the name
Is how the world
Came to be
What we see
Today:
The postwar bedroom
Made the population zoom
Fast as a sonic boom
And into the nation
Came a new generation
And we’re a part of it

There’s a thing people say
When you start a new day:
This thing is a gift
Every one of them is
And so here then’s the quiz:
What will you do with it?
What will you make of it?
You need to give a shit
Think of it
In a certain way
And how it might change
For the good
Or something other
All the days that come after it
My dad used to say
And he even wrote it this way:
Carpe Diem
Seize the day and wrangle
Some enjoyment from it
When I think of it
I think of him again
And those days way back when
His generation of women and men
Paved the way so I can be here today
Carpe’ing the hell out of this diem
With intentional intimation
For the eyes of those watching
From the vantage point
Of the next generation

© 2022 greg cain