Christmas Truce

To a hundred years ago
In that 1914 snow.
Cold and frost made mud a ground
And men rose up all around.
The lines of death forgotten
Even those that were rotten
Were placed with care in the grave
When Christ once more ruled that day.
Men sang, drank, and prayed
To celebrate in a way
The day silent night rang out
Closing man’s war throughout
When the guns, gas, and the bombs
Were made quite with a Tannenbaum

An Old Couch

A country couch in a farm living room
covered with a Five and Dime brown cover.
A small indention in the center front,
where I sat with a much small back end then.

Weekends of joy as I played farm on that couch
Tractors, cars, trucks, dozers, and road graders.
Driving the indention in the center
with toy cars and roads unseen by others.

One day it was worn out, time to replace.
I cried because it was leaving my world,
a friend and comfort of my childhood,
not understanding that an old couch wears out.
Image

Old Man

I saw an old man today
Wearing a shirt like granddaddy wore.
he had that old smell
The one old men seem to own.

He passed slowly
frail and slightly humped
His arms were leather and thin
And for a moment I saw granddaddy.

I nodded and walked on
Breathing deep his smell
Holding back an urge to hug this stranger
As if it was him, and somehow I could be eight again.

Otis Henry Grave

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Otis Henry

An angel, woman, student, soldier,
student and soldier are as one.
A doughboy throwing his grenade
Only to have gas terminate his youth

In a foreign land of a forgotten war
The war to end all wars that fueled the next
A mothers love would propel the memory
To stone and building for a post

earning a place on a history list
In the end, the name prompts questions
From a generation eighty years newer.
Curious about the grave with no boy
Otis Henry, student and soldier and finally
Marble.

Never allowed to play

They were never allowed to play
only stripped of dignity and life.
Their short existence too much for a master race
to stand
Led by a star to travel toward
gas, gun, and graves
that became the last toys in this life.

Never could they have imagined
a greater evil than that nameless party at the
zenith of a nations unspeakable history which
intelligence demands its name to be hidden here.

But now their names are lost
divided right to left and left to
Death.
To be a Jew was to wear a badge of honor
because we will never forget that
they were never allowed to play.

Pray

Now I lay me down to sleep
If I should die before I wake
I pray my lord my soul to take
A childhood prayer meant to comfort or scare
Whichever promoted a parent’s night of rest.