Thus starts Operation Poem, a log with a heartfelt purpose – to honor servicemen who lose their lives in Iraq. There is no further information about the blogger, no profile to read – only an email address to which people can send poems to be posted. I could write to the email address and ask questions – what prompted you to start this blog? How do you decide on poems to post? How do you choose which poem to post with which serviceman? – but something in me feels that it would take away from the gesture. Operation Poem is young, but it is already a poignant memorial to those who have lost their lives in this conflict. It has the potential to become a living, growing memorial where people can commemorate, mourn, touch lives and gain comfort. This is not a site glorifying the war, nor war in general.
This is not a site that features the works of one poet. The blogger solicits contributions of poetry from anyone who reads it. The one request she makes is that those submitting poetry be sensitive to the fact that the families of the servicemen/women she hopes to honor with her blog may someday read the poem posted in his or her honor. She also asks that the poems submitted not be dedicated to one particular soldier. It has a very… Tomb of the Unknown Soldier feel to it – but in a far more personal way, because the poems ARE named and dedicated, each associated with the name and, where available, photo of a person who is a casualty of the war in Iraq.
This is a blog that SHOULD be spread, that should be read, that should attract the notice of poets. The poems serve as a reminder of the cost of war, bringing it down to one person, one face, one hand reaching out to offer comfort to a family and friends who suffer that cost. If you write, if you blog, if you read, pass on the link to Operation Poem on discussion forums and poetry boards and blogs. I know nothing about Michelle, but I do know that poetry and recognition can bring healing, and this simple gesture may be a good place to start.