Fields of Stone

Rolling hills, sacred space carved by God’s hand
High ground, a fitting journey’s end for soldiers,
Spills life into the flowing Mississippi below.
A tree here, a bench there, a flag playing in the wind
The smell of early, fresh-cut grass watered by tears
Silence is the loudest sound here
Loud words taste bitter in this solemn place
The touch of a soft and steady breeze
God’s sweet breath, a reminder—He is always here.
Streets with heroes’ names run like veins through these hills
They guide the parade of mourners to the stones.

Stones cut from God’s earth and carved by man
Sun-bleached, stained by time, standing tall—like
Silent sentinels guarding the brave that rest below.
Dressed and covered in death as in life
Some 20,000 strong this army of stone.
Stones that know the names over whom they watch—
Otto, Gary, Bobby, Howard, George, Willie
Uncle, father, son, brother, grandpa
Private Combs, Sergeant White, Lt. Scott, Capt. Gillis.
Stones that tell the story of the heroes in their shadows
Purple hearts, bronze stars, a Medal of Honor.
They came from distant places to rest here—
Gettysburg, Argonne Forest, Normandy, Pusan, Khe Sanh, Falluja
So many wars, so many stones.
Here lie dreams of what might have been—
A sweetheart sleeps, a father who never saw his child,
A book never written, a song never sung.

To these fields of stone loved ones come to grieve
They tag the stones—Gone too soon, Gentle giant, See you soon, BFF
For all that rest here, “Job well done.”
The things they leave behind, tokens of love, memories for the living—
Flowers, golf balls, family pictures, Holy cards, a pin wheel spinning in the breeze.
I want to leave but can’t.
I want to stay longer, grieve, and pray once more for their souls.
I must thank God again, for by His grace, I’ve yet to claim my stone.

It Hurt To See Her Again

We said good-bye, I left for war,

We pledged too much to hump that far.

Come back the boy you are today.

I hope I can, all I could say.

Will you be here when I return?

I will be here, have no concern.


So much occurred while I was there,

Some good, some bad, a lot to bear.

My tour was done, after one year,

I came back home—there was no here.

No girl, no youth, innocence spent—

The price we paid when we were sent.


I see her face at night these days,

Through mem’ry’s eyes and dreamy haze.

They come and go, these dreams of mine,

Of days gone by and love’s sweet wine.

It hurt to see her face last night,

Familiar pain, familiar sight.


If I could choose my dreams this day,

I’d choose a youth that slipped away.

With eyes closed tight to hold my dreams,

I’d search for Innocence it seems.

I wake from dreams I wish would stay,

So great a price we had to pay.

Copyright 2016 Tom Reilly


Today I finish
Tomorrow I start anew
And the next again

It’s what I do when I don’t
And nothing is done

More like procrastination
Too neat and too clean
I deceive myself often
That I really get things done

Organizing leads
To what agonizing is
Siren call of OCD