Lest We Forget: A Memorial Day Poem by Harvey Paul Davis

Note: Harvey Davis is in the Creative Writing Class that is held virtually from New Horizons, the local senior center. We both belong. This is his Memorial Day poem, which I want to share with you, since I believe he hits the nail on the head! Harvey, in his mid-nineties, also authored a book I reviewed around election time called We the People. Go to the Search Box on my website, www.menupause.info, and type in We the People and that posting of the review will pop up.

Photos are my choices from the Internet.

Lest We Forget

Memorial Day is coming up; let me ask you, what do you plan to do?
I see a stack of papers on your table; will that give me a clue?
That barbecue grill I see circled, is that something for you to buy?
Are you planning on this Memorial Day to barbecue and give it a try?

Perhaps you are planning a trip to visit a relative you have not seen for a while.
Perhaps a trip to the familiar Jersey shore, while the weather is still mild.
Perhaps lounging around with neighbors you have not chatted with recently.
Perhaps just taking it easy, planning nothing as all (your hope secretly).

On past Memorial Days the things listed above would have been my approach.
Ideas like honoring martyrs of the wars would not on my plans encroach,
Until last year when sickness, isolation and death were out of control,
And families were separated by disease and death; no one there who could console.

 

On the last Memorial Day, I sat in my wheelchair, lonely and ill at ease.
A pandemic was raging, and I could do nothing that would please.
There would be no celebration on this day; other things were on our minds.
To think of anything but ourselves was not the way that we were inclined.

I am determined that this Memorial Day will be different; take me at my word.
I plan to make up for what happened last year, believe me, I’m not being absurd.
I want you to join with me to make this a real and authentic celebration,
Once again to remember those who gave their lives without any hesitation.

 

 

A short history lesson might be important before our celebration will begin.
After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, perhaps something done on a whim,
Flowers were placed on his grave – one thought on how Memorial Day began.
There are other stories, no one is sure, and I’m really not an historian.

It was around the end of the Civil War that the tradition took hold.
A day was set aside when the heroism of our fallen soldiers was told.
Honor was properly given to the sacrifice that all of them made.
It did not matter the land of ancestry, their skin color or its shade.

Unfortunately, there were many wars to follow; I will name just a few:
The Spanish-American War, World War l, and of course World War ll.
Then the more recent wars, where our children and grandchildren died,
Who went off to fight; sadly, we really did not have time to say good-bye.

This Memorial Day we will honor each and every one with sincerity and grace.
Together let us all take a moment, on this day at this time and in this place,
To think about the great sacrifice that all of them made, with our deep regret.
It is fitting, and they certainly deserve this honor and respect, lest we forget.

“Make Do” Poem by Mary Lou Meyers/Remembering D-Day

As I promised, I have another great poem by my classmate, Mary Lou Meyers. This one is perfect for D-Day and the beginning of the end of WWII, since the poem describes “making do” during the war. It’s also a good example of Earth Day Every Day and demonstrates that recycling is not really something new. (Photos from the Internet and descriptions are my additions.)

 

Photo of socks that need mending

 

Make Do

Words forged on the home front, “make do,”

holes in our socks, soles worn through.

Paper Sole Sammy made them look like new.

Mother spared, “a stitch in time saves nine.”

Invisible patches on suits and Sunday dresses,

turning collar and cuffs on Dad’s work shirt a must.

I learned to darn socks over a bulb with bold weaving

till with practiced hand, it became deceiving.

Photo of a darning egg from Internet

 

Many long braids untouched by scissors or machine wave,

in patriotic fervor donated for Navy instruments.

“Junk can win the war,” saved paper, cans, and more.

Castoffs on the side of the road a storehouse

filling my dream, a two-wheeler from parts made whole,

good as new with leftover auto paint, heavenly blue,

a heavy weight, but Dad said it strengthened my legs.

 

Neighborhood, “hand me downs,” were a way of life,

an art form to take scraps of material left

from Mother’s outfit to make one for me.

Unraveling wool from dad’s worn sweater,

saving the best to knit a red vest for my brother.

Country cousins sewed and pressed floral feed sacks,

did their best for a one of a kind back to school dress.

 

Photo of dress from floral feed sack

 

We made “do” without a car walking back and forth

saving nickels instead of bus fare to the store, parings

composted in our Victory Garden nourished the soil and us.

Meat and butter a rarity with rationing,

when company came, mother exchanged poor man’s bread

for poor man’s cake, raisins in a smiley face on top.

 


Congressional Library Vintage Photo of a Victory Garden

 

“Cheap” was not a word of blame but praise,

going green and recycling was what we naturally did,

joy in finding or growing something useful and free.

Today’s trash could turn into tomorrow’s necessities.

Will those Good Times ever happen again?

The populace blended when “Make Do” was the thing to do.