Some years ago, when David and Mel lost Richard, I wrote the following poem for them. Now that Open Salon is gone, on the theory that David might want to read it again, I am reposting it here.  It was originally called The Final Muster, but I have renamed it....

In Memoriam Again

Restless days, sleepless lights,
Remembering happier days
Before you got the word that
The enemy has broken through again

You rally your defenses
You call for reinforcements
You marshal your resources
To repel the enemy’s assaults

Each intrusion punches through
Another level of resistance,
You fall back slowly, charging
Full price for each foot of ground

Until your back is to the wall
And you call in your last reserves
Exhausting your remaining forces
Grasping for straws, losing your grip

The well-fought battle finally comes to an end
And the time you bought was time well spent
For you’ve raised an edifice against forgetfulness
And built a monument to recollection.

There would be no rout, no orderly retreat,
You stood your ground to the last extreme
Because it’s always better to go down swinging
Rather than to be struck out looking instead

You hold on, hoping to hold on a little longer
Until the final diagnosis reveals the fell prognosis
But you go down smiling, having cheated death
Far longer than anyone else expected

The soldier has spent his life wisely
And so made his death worthwhile
But he still won’t go down, dreaming
Of one more resurrection, one more recall

Death is the end of fear, the end of suffering,
And, in the end, sometimes, death comes
Like a cool drink of water from an old friend,
The soothing draught that heals all ills.

The black bird comes to rest
Right outside the sick room window
A host of heroes arrives at last
To escort a fallen comrade home

A host of friends, a platoon of comrades
Gently grasp his old familiar hand
With a warrior’s callused grips
Passing in a final full-dress parade.

Somewhere, Retreat is softly playing
Soon to be followed by the final Taps
As shadows gather into the darkness
And the darkness spreads across the land

But for every Taps there’s another Reveille,
For each sunset preceded subsequent dawns,
And everyone not accounted for at Taps
Sooner or later reports for duty when Reveille calls

The black hawk rises from the tarmac
The bird of prey takes flight again
Having brought thirty souls to his death bed
The war bird leaves again bearing thirty-one.

Views: 98

Comment by JMac1949 Today on October 27, 2015 at 10:17am

R&L Hoping that David finds solace with the critters of Almosta.

Comment by koshersalaami on October 27, 2015 at 12:53pm

I don't think he's reading here but you never know. He has an account here but I've heard people keep track of him on Facebook. 

Comment by Alan Milner on October 27, 2015 at 1:01pm

I put a note on his facebook page and he saw it.  Hope you're well.


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