Under Story- A Memorial Day Poem by Mary Lou Meyers

How Death often comes,
before we grow numb,
without a preface for our Loved Ones.
As if Life has a shelf life,
and there is no way to erase
Death’s Due Date
or the inescapable Truth——
we all die on route.

No reason to wait,
my husband and his twin sister
determined to visit a cousin in VA,
retired military,
whose ”spell bounding” accounts of battle
were yet to be heard.
In the thick of the fighting,
Screaming Eagles all the way,
in a Mash unit, he knew so much.
He was there at Remagen, Normandy,
Battle of the Bulge, everywhere he
seemed ready at last to spill his guts.

They called to get in touch.  A long pause—-
a voice steeped in grief, “Hal just died!”
They heard in disbelief.
“I tried to wake him up, realized he was stone cold!”
Out of touch, as if never to violate what he foreswore
years before, there was more
than needed to be heard about War.
Even by his flag-waving cousins, who survived
every step of the way through WW2 and Korea,
they had pictures to prove it,
still waiting breathlessly for the compelling
stories he would tell.
No heroics even in a righteous war, just an under story
of everyday sacrifice, growing anxiety,
strike first or regret,
and sudden inexplicable death,
erasing all the battlefield promotions and medals kept.

He lies buried now without controversy,
no one to question his grounding
or his medals floundering in his son’s bureau drawer.
He will always remain a great man,
who kept War close to the vest,
whose cousins hung on every word he never said,
never again would they pry into his under story of life.
Buried beneath, the secrets of his survival.

2 thoughts on “Under Story- A Memorial Day Poem by Mary Lou Meyers

  1. thanks for printing after the Mem. Celebration at the Mall honoring both the dead and the handicapped
    vets where the wars have taken toll. Even when there is a righteous war, there is still the inescapable
    loss of lives, and many innocent victims. Let us all remember those who have suffered so from
    war and remember Peaceful Coexistence if possible should be our first line of Defense. But as a country
    we must try to remain strong.

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