Just a simple, rhyming poem of three or four stanzas. Nothing epic. Nothing sophisticated. Nothing earth-shatteringly insightful...Just a simple poem expressing my gratitude to the men and women who have died in service to my country.
Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for those who currently serve (Armed Forces Day), and for those who have served, whether living or now deceased (Veterans Day). But too often we forget those who died while serving us. Especially those who died in battle (war or "conflict"--it matters not what our leaders call it, many lives were lost to ensure the freedoms we frequently take for granted and seem content to give away). Freedom comes to us at a great cost--the loss of lives--men and women with hopes and dreams of a bright future, leaving friends and family to mourn and carry on without them.
The human cost of our freedom is what Memorial Day is all about.
Writing something personal and heartfelt to convey my gratitude was the plan. But it seemed the harder I tried, the more elusive the words became. I put the poem away for a while. Then I'd pick it up later--only to erase every word I had written in the last writing session. And so it went. I lost hope I'd ever capture the words dancing just outside the reach of my fingertips.
Until I was driving to lunch today.
The first stanza popped unbidden into my head as I listened to the kids audio book I've been playing (Dragon Rider, by Cornelia Funke, and awesomely read by Brendan Fraser).
I turned off the CD player and repeated the stanza in an attempt to cement it in the ole noggin. As I exited the highway, the second stanza rolled off my tongue. This is the way I like to write: effortlessly--the words seeking me. Unbidden. Some days it's this easy. Most days it's not.
Maybe it's easier today because I have a deadline. I do work well under pressure. Maybe it's easier because the subject is dear to my heart. I love the poetry form, and the words are unpretentious and heartfelt. For whatever reason, it finally came to me. I'm posting today because I'll be working tomorrow.
Memorial Day 2016
Honoring the fallen
Who fought and died for me
That I might live my life
In a land that is still free.
They didn't even know my name,
For some I wasn't born.
Today I will remember
Their sacrifice, and mourn.
Sales and parties do abound
On this day that seems carefree
But I will quietly remember,
"Freedom is not free."