The Silence of Death by Lucy Hell

Ronald flew planes
For the Royal Air Force
British and a Jew
Was Rosenthal, but the war
Stole his name
Altered to Rossitter

Mostly he never talked
About WWII,
His medals and photographs
Lined the walls,
Speaking for him,
Pictures with Eisenhower
Standing next to his plane
His aviator helmet in hand

I think he was sad
I was too
Young to ask
Or later too self-absorbed
Thinking
The world revolved around me

And that’s how he made me feel
Safe and loved and free …

He died a month before my
First child,
His great-granddaughter
Came into the world

He would have loved her so much

And I wish I
Could have asked him more questions
About the greatest generation
So I could thank him
So I could hold his hand
So we could take long walks
Through his vineyard
Feed the donkeys
And have long talks
By the pond
Drink red wine
In the summertime
Eat cucumber salad
And argue about
Politics

I would listen more
Listen to him
Describe the bombs dropping
The planes exploding
The gunfire drowning out
The silence of death.

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14 Responses to “The Silence of Death by Lucy Hell”

  1. Donal Mahoney Says:

    Very moving poem very well written.

  2. Doug Draime Says:

    you nailed it, Ms. Hell, fine, fine poem.

  3. Very nice

  4. Ronald was a good guy. I wish I had more time to know him too.

  5. i would like to eat cucumber salad with you, lucy.

  6. ❤ Thank you ❤

  7. Lucy – this is such a heartfelt poem. i thank you for its poignant expression. best, winnie

  8. Malibu Stacy Says:

    Summer, wine, donkeys. So lovely.

  9. I’ll make cucumber salad for you, Koneko. Any time.

  10. Thank you, Lucy, for making this the most memorable of Memorial Days… he would have been so pleased and so proud.. of your talent and your loving testimonial.

  11. A beautiful tribute. Was he an American pilot flying for the RAF?

  12. He was English, Donnie – but ultimately an American. Came here in 1955.

    He was the only man of his entire squadron to survive.

  13. Karl Koweski Says:

    poetic excellence.

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