Every year on the last day
of grade school, your ritual
was to run and leap from a knoll
as you cried, Free! Free at last!
Yet, you kept on learning, and
telling jokes to lighten life’s load -
even while you shifted the weight
of your Army pack on your back.
I am thankful you are out of range
of the enemies’ guns now.
You love, as you always have -
no enemy’s bullet could kill that.
Back home you started to mend.
Grandma Zelda shouted, Couráge!
as you first walked with your canes.
Your echo was, Couráge!
You never spoke of the war except once.
I was in your home office. You worked
while I did homework at the kids’ desk.
I saw you move, and turned my head.
You looked up and spoke to yourself.
Yes this is what we’d talk about during
the war. We’d come home, and have
families. Life would be good again.
I’m sure you have
found yet another home
and are leaping once again -
wherever you are.
As I was leaping in a modern dance
class, exploring internal resistance felt,
your enemies confronted me!
I looked behind their faces of rage
and saw fear. Great Grandma
Zelda’s cry of Couráge!
flew out of your story to me.
It was a cry to forgive, and I did.
I feel sure you have forgiven too.
Your voice I hear again
as you leap, with a new cry
Free! Free at last - to love!
CATCH THE SPIRIT
When a dead tree falls, its heartwood
no longer carries life giving nutrient.
That’s no matter, we living trees catch it.
We honor what flowed while it stood
with pulse of its own distant drummer
with being out in front - leading
with standing on the sidelines - cheering
being in a sweaty kitchen - cooking
designing clothing or software
flying at thirty thousand feet
or honoring Mother nature on the ground -
conserving land, waters, insects, beasts, generic man.
You see - dead or alive - we all count
as long as we honor each's heartwood expression
no matter our color, race, orientation or nation.
This Memorial Day let's do more than catch what’s fallen
let's be overcome by their spirit of service, let it live among us
and carry it forward as their forever worth.