Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Memorial Day Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

25 May 2015

Archibald MacLeish's poem The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak is engraved on low stone walls of the National Cemetery Overlook at the Presidio in San Francisco. The cemetery itself is the final resting place of over 30,000 Americans, including Civil War generals, Medal of Honor recipients, Buffalo Soldiers and a Union Spy.

The color of the cold stone echoes the warmth of the tall Eucalyptus trees surrounding the Overlook site. And MacLeish's timeless if silent words remind us of our duty to them.

The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak

Nevertheless they are heard in the still houses: who has not heard them?

They have a silence that speaks for them at night and when the clock counts.

They say, We were young. We have died. Remember us.

They say, We have done what we could but until it is finished it is not done.

They say, We have given our lives but until it is finished no one can know what our lives gave.

They say, Our deaths are not ours: they are yours: they will mean what you make them.

They say, Whether our lives and our deaths were for peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say: it is you who must say this.

They say, We leave you our deaths: give them their meaning: give them an end to the war and a true peace: give them a victory that ends the war and a peace afterwards: give them their meaning.

We were young, they say. We have died. Remember us.

-- Archibald MacLeish

Our illustration shows one of the stone walls with a verse chiseled into its shadowed wall. In the image, the stone divides the path between paved asphalt and dirt. The trees loom darkly in the background as a destination. In the clearing before them, a little sunlight falls, as if in that spot they are still with us.

Today we not only remember them but also their call to give meaning to their lives.

BackBack to Photo Corners