Wednesday, March 7, 2012

On behalf of a grateful nation.

The magnolia winds sing a mournful whisper-hymn
As the black-clad harbinger of death and life
Speaks the strains of a sorrowful, bitter song
With cadence and familiarity,
Like greeting an old friend.
The teary-eyed widow
Looks on with silence on her lips, but none in her soul
As the flag draped coffin that held
Her life and joy
Stood at attention commanding her gaze;
A veritable vacuum of life-marrow.
As they take the starry, striped banner
Off the wooden tomb,
With gloved hands, and clicking heels
She sees his face as lively as ever.
They fold it sharply, and slide it into her hands
And she feels his lifeblood pumping through its stripes.
The firing squad awaits orders, and with a word
They hail his sacrifice with a hail of lead.
She jumps with each discharge,
Feeling more and more separated from him.
Looking on this scene from three stones over,
I remember when they brought me here.
The same teary silence surrounded the start of my rest.
The same barking guns released me from my prison of cold.
This is the cost.
Remember those who paid it.


  1. wow...stirring poem...beautiful imagery through the opening and a fitting tribute for sure...well done

  2. Such sad events where loss of youth and possibility join in the torn soul of a grieving mother. These scenes, I fear, play themselves out so often lately. The ending has a Stephen Vincent Benet feel, as we hear the words of the dead speaking to us. Very affective poem, reminding us never to forget the sacrifice of those who've died in the name of honor and duty.

  3. yes...Remember those who paid it.. a very fine written tribute...and that you write it from the widow's perspective makes it very personal and even more moving..

  4. Lest we forget. You capture a very personal moment and a selfless sacrifice. Well done.


    Mark Butkus