A Memorial Day Poem: Life in a Time of Death

There was a time when I was possessed by the poetic muse and spat out poetry compulsively. I even made some money at it, which is something, since 'Poet' isn't exactly listed on the Business Week catalog of the top paid professions. About once a year the muse comes back and randomly slams a poem into my head and I have to let it out somewhere - in this case it was yesterday in the shower - so here it is.

Life in a Time of Death

Today's the day that we remember those
Who died so long ago and far away
That now their deaths become
Romantic, tragic, literary or forgotten.

That's easy.
Quote the Kipling.
Say a prayer.
Fly the flag.
Move on.

For harder
Try those still among us
Who live with war
Embittered in their hearts
Whose sleep is restless
From the sound of shells
That burst too close
Or for lost comrades
Who come faceless to their dreams.
Night on night relentless
As years wear on
And other memories fade
While war remains
Embittered in their hearts.

Or harder
Try those not yet memories,
Who walk among us,
Living dead before death,
Doomed unknown
To snipers bullet or to
Coward's bomb,
To the risks of living life
In a time of universal war
That spares no innocence
And demands no special
Rank or Insignia.
All men are soldiers
In a time of death.

Life as we live it every day
Is our memorial
To ourselves.
Not knowing now
If someone then
Will need us
For their beacon, inspiration
Will light a candle to our memory.

We don't choose
To be or not be martyred,
But do choose how we live
Each moment in succession
To that day
When fate or nature takes us,
Leaving the way we lived
As our memorial.


About Dave 536 Articles
Dave Nalle has worked as a magazine editor, a freelance writer, a capitol hill staffer, a game designer and taught college history for many years. He now designs fonts for a living and lives with his family in a small town just outside Austin where he is ex-president of the local Lions Club. He is on the board of the Republican Liberty Caucus and Politics Editor of Blogcritics Magazine. You can find his writings about fonts, art and graphic design at The Scriptorium. He also runs a conspiracy debunking site at IdiotWars.com.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.