Elaine Ricketson Danks


Renowned is his hallowed grave, majestic and awesome,
this Pacific;
Whose solemn waters taste of tears, and depths and breadth pale in shame
beside the vastness of his spirit,
once contained by slender limbs and boyish charm.
A life bright as a just-struck match,
flared brilliantly for too little time
… before dying.
Transfigured to a radiance that lights eternity,
He soars among the gauzy clouds
and dances with the wind.

ALTAuthor’s Note: The “epitaph” was written just prior to making a pilgrimage on April 7, 1999, to the site in the East China Sea where his plane was shot down, and on to Okinawa and Guam from where he had last sailed. I read it standing on a cliff overlooking the sea on Kyushu, Japan, just after I had gone out on a boat close to the coordinates I had for the location of his plane (and near the site of the Yamato) and tossing a bouquet of flowers on the water. It was a day far beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of or wished for. To me, it was the day I found my father and brought him home – in spirit, if not in body.

Elaine Ricketson Danks
November 19, 2005