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!

Jobie Townshend-Zellner

copyright 2023


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.

Jobie Townshend-Zellner

copyright 2023