When I was in hospital I found I could hardly read or writ. In these circumstances I began to write poems. I found that poetry was the only kind of writing in which I could express my thoughts. One night I dreamed I was lying on the bank of a canal, under machine gun fire. The next morning I wrote it out , Carentan O Caretan, and as I wrote I realized it was not a dream, but the memory of my first time under fire
The Poetry of War 1939-45 ed. Ian Hamilton, London 1965
I did not wish to protest against war. My object was to remember. I wanted people to find in my poems the truth of what it had been like to be an American infantry soldier. Now I see I was writing a memorial of those years, for the me I had known, who were silent.