In the meantime, enjoy the responses I have made to other prompts.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Memory Shall Be Ours*

I never had the chance to be
A daddy’s girl for years and years.
You passed away when I was three.
I still remember Mama’s tears.

Those early days it made no sense;
I didn’t care what people said.
A sacrifice at my expense –
I only knew my dad was dead.

But as I aged and reason grew,
I felt your strength; I understood.
To show respect I’d be like you.
I’d join the army when I could.

And so I did; I made a vow
To make the army my career
And when I did I thought somehow
I saw you grinning ear to ear.

As I progressed on through the ranks
I felt your presence evermore.
My goal in mind – to lead the flanks
Your memory to underscore.

How proud I was that autumn day
As I processed across the stage
To hear him “Sergeant Major” say
A thirst, at last, I could assuage.

As I reflect, my goal attained,
The loss I feel is still as great,
But through your absence I have gained,
Your spirit, Dad, to guide my fate.

This poem is based on two inspirations. One is the Writer’s Cramp prompt from today asking the writers to use Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem for inspiration (see below) and the other is from a recent Story Corp episode I heard involving Sergeant Major Lisa Torello speaking with Tony Cistaro, the only survivor from the attack that killed her father.

Decoration Day

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry's shot alarms!

Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon's sudden roar,
Or the drum's redoubling beat.

But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.

All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!

Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers
Yours has the suffering been,
*The memory shall be ours.

-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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