February 16, 2009

Earle Davis

Bravery boasts itself in citations and medals;
courage hides in the heart of man alone.
I saw a soldier wait the order to charge
up a hazardous ravine today;
he trembled visibly, kept biting his lip;
his eyes had a glassy cast. Every time
we had gone into action, soul-crushing fear
had shown in his face. What tremendous force of
made him move into danger, I cannot estimate.
He always obeyed; he never ran away.
The man shall be nameless, for he rushed up
that ravine and got a bullet through the heart.

Medals are won by men like me.

—From An American in Sicily, originally published in 1944


Earle Davis (1905-1991) served in World War II as a U.S. Army officer with the 1st Infantry Division. An academic after the war, Davis also authored Vision Fugitive: Ezra Pound and Economics, and The Flint And The Flame: The Artistry Of Charles Dickens.

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