Ralph Moul served as an Electrician Mate, 2nd Class, on board the U.S.S. Lexington in the Pacific theater of World War II. When the poet, Keith Moul, found his father’s journal from 1944, he found a voice he never knew that he writes about in “Silent Man:” Eloquent as a tracer shell arcing toward zeroes, / maybe hit, more likely missed, lost in an ocean / of fear, an infinity of watery space.
The journal of this lonely sailor sheds new light on that “painful, private vocabulary” and bridges the gap between father and son across that “infinity of watery space.” Moul’s poetry not only honors his father’s quiet dignity, but gives a true, honest voice to the ordinary men who shouldered the burden of war. These poems bring eloquence to the strength and silence of the Greatest Generation.