73 years ago, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor propelling the United States into World War II. Using that as your inspiration write your poem. You’re a survivor. You’re a place or thing. You are a memory waiting to be written.



The Hawaiian skies are so blue,
flecks of clouds add contrast.
A Sunday morning that carries
no warning or cause for alarm.
No harm can come on a beautiful
day like today. You should live to
remember such days as this.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik, 2014


37 thoughts on “PROMPT #178 – “A DAY THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY”

  1. Pingback: Remembering | Vivinfrance's Blog


    She was hurt before she started.
    Injured in battle at Coral Sea,
    she was patched, jury-rigged,
    and sent into battle again
    toward another objective.

    She met her mates upon the sea
    at a spot on the open ocean
    called, perhaps prayerfully, Point Luck.
    There, she awaited the Emperor’s fleet
    steaming toward its objective.

    She met her enemy and they were hers.
    In rapid succession and shot with luck,
    she and her mates flung funeral pyres
    on three of four Japanese carriers
    deflected from their objective,

    but the remaining carrier, determined
    to fight on for the Son of Heaven;
    sent planes aloft to scan the sea.
    They found her, and she knew
    that she was their objective.

    She was injured again. And again:
    bombs and torpedoes from planes
    and a spread of torpedoes from a submarine
    raised fires and spawned explosions;
    they had met their objective.

    She burned; listed; slipped beneath the sea.
    With tears accompanying her,
    she sought the bottom, to join her victims.
    And so she went, leaving her mates
    midway to their objective.

    copyright 2014, William Preston


    I was born to bear a sword
    and to sail the seas
    in search of the enemies
    of my Emperor.

    I grew strong in the service
    of my Emperor. For my Emperor I learned
    the art of war and the exercise of power.
    I learned the moods of the seas; the strengths
    and the frailties of ships and planes; the hearts
    and the bellies of men; all
    for my Emperor.

    I formed fleets; I planned battles; I stretched
    the boundaries of my island nation to the shores
    of other nations, and into the oceans around
    my island. I plotted the destruction of the fleet
    of a nation I feared my nation
    could never destroy: I went
    to Pearl Harbor, and laid it waste. I went
    to my limits; I went to Midway
    for my Emperor.

    What I feared
    is coming to pass:
    the enemy of my Emperor
    is coming across the sea
    and my island will be an island
    once again.

    I am the sword of my Emperor.
    I will remain the sword of my Emperor
    until I die.

    copyright 2014, William Preston

  4. DECEMBER 07, 1941

    I was six months old then
    a baby in my crib
    sleeping peacefully

    I did not hear the bombs
    nor see the giant ships
    explode like fragile stars

    I did not know of war
    or young soldiers dying
    or the downside of surprise

    I was a June baby
    shielded from December
    remembering nothing

    beyond my mother’s voice
    singing sweet lullabies
    to rouse me from my sleep



    Three days live in infamy
    One, a perceived threat targeted to disable defenses
    Two, civilian areas meant to break a nation’s spirit
    The crime committed on December 7th repaid one hundred for one dead
    Skin melted as the end of the world dawned
    An act of war or national defense?

    (believe it or not, not meant as a political commentary)

  6. Among the 1,177 crewmen killed were all 21 members of the Arizona’s band, known as U.S. Navy Band Unit (NBU) 22. At no other time in American history has an entire military band died in action. (

    The Day the Music Died

    The US Navy Band
    was assembled to play
    as Old Glory was raised
    on the Arizona.
    They left their instruments
    for battle positions
    beneath the gun turret
    as bombers flew over
    that early December morn.
    All twenty-one members
    of NBU 22
    died that day in action.

  7. He says he will be home for Christmas
    Finding it so hard to wait
    Haven’t seen Dad since June
    I know he won’t be late

    You see he is in the Navy
    In a ship far away
    Somewhere near Hawaii
    But he’ll be home Christmas day

    He sent me a picture
    Of mountains and the sea
    Islands in the Pacific
    But he wants to be with me

    Mom, why are you crying
    Why is the radio so low
    You say they bombed Dad’s ship
    No. Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.

    He said he will be home for Christmas
    Well I guess it is true
    He won’t be with me and Mama
    But in heaven Jesus with you

    • For me, this poem well expresses what it was like for so many back then, and in so many wars forever. It reminds me of Where Have All the Flowers Gone?


    In this time of short days and long shadows,
    my mind travels back to the sea;
    to the ships and the men and the sorrows
    and the lives that were never to be.

    They were young, oh, so young, and their promise
    was pregnant and glowing; sublime.
    But the planes and the bombs and torpedoes
    put an end to their days, and that time.

    I am now in another December,
    enjoying the juncos and jays,
    but the mourning doves still say, “Remember.”
    Long shadows command these short days.

    copyright 2014, William Preston

  9. Pingback: An Oak Spoken Truth | Metaphors and Smiles

  10. (Just to be clear: My response is from the perspective of a tree…so I’m not actually addressing the specific response of the attack on our Pacific coast but more about wars that took place on land during the six year span of World War II).

    An Oak Spoken Truth

    Deeply fixed – still I feel my roots tremble with boot-beats on ground
    pounding past and bullets whiz-whir by – my bark stings – they won’t stop,
    shots fired cannot be retrieved and rings of wisdom within cry out…
    a simple timbered wish resonates here hoping for a peaceful future.
    Did it have to get to this – this bomb dropping and attack plotting?
    If they could reword history I’d give my flesh to be pressed into paper
    that they could write their story anew – remove all of this bloodshed,
    red tears that seep and stain, bubbles within their blue veins –
    each heart beat speaks and the pulse in every throat knows why…
    but it’s for freedom – but we did it to be free – but it’s for peace.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

  11. Pearl Harbor, 1941,
    a date that opened
    the gateway to war.
    No one expected it.
    No one will forget it.

    Eight years later,
    on that same day,
    after suffering labor
    pains, my mother-in-law
    gave birth to my husband.

    Everyone remembers
    his birthday.

  12. In the Quiet Presence

    The boat docks and silence takes hold
    I walk quietly into the monument
    Hallowed ground built over water
    Water forever engulfing their tomb

    A marble wall draws my eye
    Names forever etched in memoriam
    Though I knew none of them
    I feel a connection nevertheless

    I walk to the rail and look over
    Oil still seeps from the ship below
    I drop my flowers in the water
    And pray this never happens again

    © 2014 Earl Parsons

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