William N. Janes, Sr

OF BLOOD AND SAND
(Du Sang et du Sable)

William N. Janes, Sr: Of Blood and Sand (Du Sang et du Sable)
A Sand Sculpture on Omaha Beach to Commemorate D-Day

William N. Janes, Sr: Of Blood and Sand (Du Sang et du Sable)
The Inscription on this Cross at The Omaha Beach War Memorial in France reads, “Here Lies In Honoured Glory A Comrade in Arms Known But to God”
On endless beach I walk at last
And time is but a stranger,
As soldiers come as one again
Where waves remember danger.

The simple whisper of the sea
Falls loud upon my ears
With cries of fallen comrades
And to my eyes come tears.

It’s here I know the battle raged
And grains of sand still see,
The courage that was wrought here,
Here in Normandy.

Old soldiers come to stand here
Where others fell and stood,
To comprehend what brothers faced
And wonder if they could.

The sea laps gently at my heel
As I gaze the verdant shore
And in my mind the bullets fly,
And cannons bark once more.

Now, puny words are penned by me
To speak of what I saw:
Lost hope and dreams, but then renewed
On a beach called Omaha.

Then, through the dark and murky clouds
Comes light in golden bands
And sparkles dance upon the sea
At this place of blood and sand.

The guns are strangely silent.
The battle now is done.
The only sound’s the sweep of wave,
And a chill fades with the sun.

On sacred sand I kneel to pray
At the merge of land and sea
For those who fought for freedom here,
They fought for you and me.


Author’s Note: My wife had to go to Paris on business, and I tagged along so that I could go to Normandy. I have always wanted to go there. As I stood on Omaha Beach, this poem came to me. As I walked the rows of crosses, this one cross caught my eye for two reasons. It had a small flag at the base placed there by someone unknown to me, and it is the grave of an unknown. As I walked the rows of crosses, I found other unknowns, but none had a flag placed with them. It was if someone had placed it there for me to notice. I can’t explain it. Bill Janes – May 17, 2005