PROUDLY HE WALKED

The Sunday Whirl, for wordle #30, http://sundaywhirl.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/wordle-30/, proved to be difficult until the words ‘bees’ and ‘coral’ jumped out at me. Then my muse took over and I realized I would have to make this a belated Veterans’ Day tribute.

Wordle 30

The words are: bees, balance, cleaning, coral, finger, motionless, eloquent, safety, rapidly, point, strength, swivel.

PROUDLY HE WALKED
by Mike Patrick

Proudly he walked the length of the concourse,
head high and moving rapidly for a man of his age.
His wife and son struggled to keep up.
His grandson, his warrior, was returning home.

His own days of war had been in World War II.
He was in one of the first Construction Battalions.
Construction Battalions—shortened to CBs,
then to Cee Bees, and finally to Seabees.

He still remembered the strength of youth
and running across the coral,
cleaning off the beach obstructions:
swiveling from one to another
planting explosive charges.

There was no thought of safety.
Life was a balancing act:
standing motionless,
then running like Hell,
so scared he couldn’t talk—
but he made it.

He went on to build piers, airstrips and hospitals,
on a dozen dirty little disease infested islands.
He kept building after he got out.
Now that he owned a construction company,
all he had to do was point a finger
and others rushed to do his bidding.

But not this one.
Not the one coming home today.
His grandson’s time in the service
was spent building schools and hospitals
in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

As his grandson proudly walked from the plane,
head held high, resplendent in his uniform,
he tried to think of an eloquent welcome speech,
but all he could do was cry.

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This entry was posted in A Wording Whirl of Sundays, Aging, Family, Free Verse, Grandchildren, Narrative Poem, Poetry, Un-rhyming, War, Warriors and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to PROUDLY HE WALKED

  1. F{oops, edited for content} brilliant Mike! You bring out the heart of humanity!

  2. vivinfrance says:

    Is this fiction, Mike? It reads like truth, and your use of wordle words is so subtle that I had to search for them!

    • Mike Patrick says:

      No, Viv. My father, who this would have had to be about, was in the Army. He was in France when the war ended. I was in the Navy during Vietnam, but Navy aviation, not the Seabees. Long after I got out of the Navy, I read a couple of books about the Seabees. Their courage and skill made them more than respected. They are legends.

  3. Truly they were warriors.

  4. Janet says:

    I forgot this was a wordle challenge as I read it…powerful and emotional; it makes one feel truly grateful for the sacrifices of unnamed heroes.

  5. It is so touching. Thanks for writing this..

    surface

  6. Yes, they are and are still all legends. Each and every one of them. God bless them all and bring them home safe to their family.
    A very moving write from you Mike.

  7. Laurie Kolp says:

    Aww, this is great, Mike…heartfelt and emotional.

  8. Susannah says:

    So, so well done Mike. I would never have guessed that this was constructed around the wordle words. It was eloquent and read as ‘truth’.

  9. islandcat2u says:

    thanks for a great write and tribute – and pray for the day when all the soldiers can spend their days doing humanitarian service – “building schools and hospitals” – yes that will be a very good day.

  10. Yes, Mike a powerful and moving piece. I also didn’t notice the wordle words, it reads beautifully.

    Pamela

  11. irene says:

    My oh my, the emotions here are wonderful. A grand tribute to your father. Mike, you went to Vietnam? I’d love to hear your war stories.

  12. Mary says:

    This was a very moving poem, Mike. It left me with a lump in my throat, thinking what the grandfather must have been thinking as he saw his grandson come home.

  13. 1sojournal says:

    Wonderfully proud write, Mike. Fantastic use of the wordle words, even though they simply disappeared into the tale you were telling. Honest respect for honest heroes. Thank you, and hows the novel coming, so glad you are attempting it.

    Elizabeth
    http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/

    • Mike Patrick says:

      The novel is coming slow, but it’s coming. Plot lines are starting to become visible. There is no way it will be completed in one month–maybe three or four if I quit writing so much poetry.

  14. Nanka says:

    Impressive poem and thrilling effect in some parts!!
    I really do hope the face of war changes for the better and from your account here it has done so, from the grand-dad to the grandson’s era!! A lot though has yet to change!!
    But I wonder why the old battle cries are only transforming and speaking of “nuclear war”; “nuclear weapons”.

  15. Mike says:

    A wonderfully powerful piece of writing Mike.
    Well done.

  16. geri=Mom says:

    Very emotion filled. Wonderful, vivid story telling.

  17. Mike, this was so touching, so earthy, and thanks for speaking about the CBs and the evolution of their name. My dad was a SeaBee in the Navy, the Pacific theater. They did indeed make airstrips for planes to safely land, etc. The closest he got to injury was when the Japanese would strafe their sites. They’d jump into foxholes (where there are no atheists!). One night, a guy jumped in on top of my father and Dad’s leg was severely shredded by the other soldier’s boot. After they mended him up, they presented Dad with a Purple Heart, and he gave it back. Said it would be an insult to those injured in combat, while he just got bloodied safe in a foxhole. I have to give Dad credit for that integrity! Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/life-is-good-when/

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