US Soldiers Pose with the Bodies of Moro Insurgents

Philippines, March 7, 1906

 
                          
From the archives—
a photograph taken on the crater
rim of Mount Dajo
after assault 

              272 men of the 6th 
Infantry     211 men of the 4th Cavalry 
68 men of the 28th Artillery Battery
51 Sulu Constabulary   110 men of the 19th
Infantry and 6 sailors from 
the gunboat Pampanga

                    In the foreground 
a child's foot 
rests on the brow of another  
                              A body away

could that be his sister
Her dark hair still 
neat in its ponytail
                                 
                      A whole
village in the ditch— Softness
of homespun garments their tattered
elegy  

              A pale breast and smudged
throat tilts toward the sky like some
marble goddess defaced

                         I cannot look 
at the white men standing above them
with their officious hats 

                        Their cocked 
knees and overheated guns

Each one's the crooked bow of elbows
Each one's the nonchalance of war

                This is the Bud Dajo massacre
where more than 900 Muslim Filipinos
were killed
             
             defending a settlement
where they'd retreated to plant
rice and potatoes
weave
       mats from forest fronds

18 Americans lost
their lives 
              For every white 
soldier here a calculus
of 50 native bodies


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