Thursday, June 1, 2017

Tanks are Symphony of Roars and Rattles


The M60A1 Patton tank that was my home and weapon in Colorado and West Germany was a symphony of sound I could never quite describe in prose, so I tried poetry:


M60A1, Fulda 1976

Growling, howling, eighteen hundred cubic inches
Of diesel engine roars, belches smoke and launches
Fifty-seven tons steel and rubber and flesh across a
German field.

While the engine roars, end connectors grind in the
Sprockets, center guides screech as they scrape
Aluminum road wheels lined with steel. Ammo racks
Rattle, White Phosphorus rounds in the Ready Rack shake.

Torsion bars creak, flexing over rocks and ruts. 
Ratchets, wrenches, track tools, clasps,
Hinges, and locks jangle and ring on the fenders.
Jerry cans clang in their tie downs on side of the turret

Hydraulic motor screams as the commander swings the
Turret over the driver. A cacophony of track blocks,
Bolts, rack handles, the coax ammo box,  
Cupola ammo doors, the tanker bar and Little Joe,

Assails the ears of the crew as they scan the horizon.
Across the fence, squat Soviet T-70s track the
Trundling Pattons as they parade north, roaring,
Rattling and ready to rain ruin in a moment.



SPQR and America

Senatus Populusque Romanus The Senate and People of Rome Some of the soldiers I served with in Iraq talked about getting an SPQR tat...