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 because

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, Kandahar

So many wars, so many stones.

Here lie dreams of what might have been—

A sweetheart sleeps, the father who never saw his child, 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 some more, pray once more for their souls.

I must thank God again, but by His holy grace, I’ve yet to own 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

Procrastination

Today I finish
Tomorrow I start anew
And the next again

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

Organization
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