The Open Gate: A Haiku Journal

Introduction   van Gogh   The Lost Battalion   A Boy Tries

The grandiose order*— fulfilled—
For each alive, two had died
Holding the gut-strewn prize.

Beneath praise piled high
Misgivings continued to smoulder—
A paltry, costly prize.

For loved lives lost
Also came repeated blame—
Silence, the reply.

Quietly, doubt's fire ignited
Precluding redemptive love from sprouting
Then spread, by remorse fed.

Uncontrollably it raged
Until quenched in the great salt sea—
The grandiose order— fulfilled.


For Col. Charles W. Whittlesey (1883-1921), Commander of the Lost Battalion on the anniversary of his suicide by drowning.

* Advance "without regard of losses and without regard to the exposed conditions of the flanks"
      — Gen. John J. Pershing

Copyright © 2006 J. C. Greene.