* * * Flower Child * * *
All decked out
In your grandma's crochet,
Was this the day
To the park you were taken
And you sang "Where have all the flowers gone?"
For you knew every word.
And on that day
Upon your wrist
Was placed a copper bracelet?
And on that bracelet was a name,
You knew not of
But somewhere, to someone
He was more than a name missing in action?
And on that day did a cloud cross over
And blot out your sunny sky?
And with that bracelet
Were you forever shackled?
* * * The Nurse * * *
WWII, European Theater, Airborne
You came to us with a photograph,
Good-looking god of a man,
Towering over President Eisenhower
And shaking his hand.
Now, it's I who tower over you
Confined to your wheelchair,
But, yes, I see the resemblance to that god-like face
Etched out by time.
WWII, Pacific Theater, Navy Sailor
You cannot speak a word of any sense,
But sing as sexy as Johnny Cash,
That for me you'd even try to turn the tide,
That for me you walk the line.
WWII, The Phillipines, The Phillipines
Yes, I know, you told me a hundred times,
That you served in the Phillipines,
But never did I not love to hear it,
That you were the cook,
Thinking you were on vacation,
But hunger came, and privation,
Then shrapnel came
And took your legs.
WWII, Pacific Theater, Marine Corps Sniper
I remember when I dressed your wound,
Your fist cocked back;
I did not flinch,
But falling into your bright blue eyes,
Said, "I'm sorry."
And your fist on safety locked,
You could not strike a woman.
WWII, Battle of the Bulge, POW
Of you I know to never ever
Feed you turnips
And that the tip of your ear is missing
And so are some of your toes,
Frostbitten in the trenches of long ago.
But of your mind
There is nothing missing.
Korean War, The Forgotten War
I was warned about you
That you knew how to kill
And had trained others in those deadly arts.
I was advised not to startle you
Into thinking I was your enemy,
But I was not afraid of you
Sweet intelligence of a man.
And when you asked me to marry you
While the tobacco juice dribbled
From your toothless gums
I should have said, "Yes" with all abandon
And to hell with professional distance.
Oh, man, you are in trouble.
Broke the law!
But on that day with Mary Jane,
This was a happy place.
Until we found out why
And came the dogs who snooped you out.
Unknown ailments poison you
Not just drink and cigarettes.
But I have seen through your disabilities
And know you are the self-appointed
Defender of the weak,
Upholder of justice,
And maintainer of peace,
And that as a younger man
You can follow through with it.
I appreciate you, my haunted bodyguard.
Afghanistan, The War on Terror
With your bloodied hands,
Please, I plead with you,
Do not take your life
And be a victim of your times.
I so love you
Like a baby in my arms.
WWI, The Great War
You are the oldest man I have ever known,
With the boyish of smiles.
What treasure lies hid in your sunken ship
Laid out on a hospital bed?
Behind those cloudy, rheumy eyes,
Are horses still remembered?
* * * Flower Child * * *
All grown up
Looking smart in your nursing scrubs,
Why do you not wear a poppy
On this Veterans Day
For all the flowers gone?
Because I hold in my hand
Poppy's purist derivative
To ease the pain and suffering
In my living garden.