Initial Assault - Sicily (1975)

The name that somebody put
at some unremembered time
on a focus of camel tracks
or a headland or a beach
has no inherent power
except to tantalize
the fringes of memory;
until it is selected
as a bomb-aimer’s target,
or the dark craft of invasion
steal in there from the night sea,
and the cicadas’ song is silenced
in vineyard and olivegrove
by the clinking approach of tanks.
And Canea, Mersa Matruh,
El Aouina, Murro di Porco,
Sidi Rezegh and Luqa
are stranded on the beach
of memory beyond
the pluck of the springtide’s
tendrils and the cool
soothing fingers of time.