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Below are selected classic and contemporary poems, offered in observance of Memorial Day.

James Whitcomb Riley
Decoration Day on the Place

Badger Clark
Jeff Hart

Others

Henry Herbert Knibbs
Sunlight

Byrd Woodward
His Land
Feather Henry

Hal Swift
The Patriot

Chris Isaacs
Michael Bia

Rod McQueary
lander evening

Yvonne Hollenbeck
The Flag Out on the Ranch
Song for Josiah
 

See the 2008 Picture the West
 
tribute to Cpl. Josiah Hollopeter

Texas singer and songwriter Jean Prescott's 2011 album, America—Home Sweet Home, includes a song co-written with South Dakota poet Yvonne Hollenbeck that honors the memory of Josiah Hollopeter, grandson of Nebraska rancher, writer, and poet Willard Hollopeter.

Read Yvonne Hollenbeck's moving story of her inspiration for the poem that became "Song for Josiah" and find the words
below.

See a video created by Josiah's mother that includes Jean Prescott's song  here.

Ken Rodgers' and Betty K. Rodgers' remarkable documentary, Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor, includes the first-hand stories of veterans of the 77-day Siege of Khe Sanh, Vietnam, Ken Rodgers and other men of the Bravo Company-First Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment. Ray Doyle's music is a part of the film. See video trailers at the Bravo the Project site here.

In November, 2013, Dialogue on Idaho Public Television presented a conversation with the filmmakers and Steve Wiese, also a part of the battle and the film. Watch the episode here and also view the extra footage that continues the conversation. Idaho Public Television showed the entire film on November 10, at 7 PM.

Find more about Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor on  Facebook, and at bravotheproject.com, where the film is available on DVD.
 

Betty and Ken Rodgers' current film-in-progress, I Married the War, focuses on wives of combat veterans of wars from WWII to the present.

Find more on Facebook.

Elsewhere on the web:

Memorial Day 
Department of Veterans Affairs

Memorial Day 
From the Library of Congress, Today in History

National Memorial Day Concert
From PBS


Veteran's Day poems at CowboyPoetry.com

 




 

Decoration Day on the Place

It's lonesome—sorto' lonesome,—it's a Sund'y-day to me,
It 'pears-like—more'n any day I nearly ever see!
Yit, with the Stars and Stripes above, a-flutterin' in the air,
On ev'ry Soldier's grave I'd love to lay a lilly thare.

They say, though, Decoration Days is ginerly observed
'Most ev'rywheres—espeshally by soldier-boys that's served.—
But me and Mother's never went—we seldom git away,—
In p'int o' fact, we're allus home on Decoration Day.

They say the old boys marches through the streets in colum's grand,
A'follerin' the old war-tunes theyr playin' on the band—
And citizuns all jinin' in—and little childern, too—
All marchin', under shelter of the old Red White and Blue.—

With roses! roses! roses!—ev'rybody in the town!—
And crowds o' little girls in white, jest fairly loaded down!—
Oh! don't The Boys know it, from theyr camp acrost the hill?—
Don't they see theyr com'ards comin' and the old flag wavin' still?

Oh! can't they hear the bugul and the rattle of the drum?—
Ain't they no way under heavens they can rickollect us some?
Ain't they no way we can coax 'em through the roses, jest to say
They know that ev'ry day on earth's theyr Decoration Day?

We've tried that—me and Mother,—whare Elias takes his rest,
In the orchurd—in his uniform, and hands acrost his brest,
And the flag he died fer, smilin' and a-ripplin' in the breeze
Above his grave—and over that,—the robin in the trees!

And yit it's lonesome—lonesome!—It's a Sund'y-day, to me,
It 'pears-like—more'n any day I nearly ever see!—
Still, with the Stars and Stripes above, a-flutterin' in the air,
On ev'ry Soldier's grave I'd love to lay a lily thare.

by James Whitcomb Riley, from Neighborly Poems, 1883

 

This poem was delivered by James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) "at Grand Army of the Republic (Civil War veterans) gatherings," according to information at www.jameswhitcombriley.com. You can find all the works of James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) at Project Gutenberg

 

 

Jeff Hart

Jeff Hart rode out of the gulch to war
     When the low sun yellowed the pines.
He waved to his folks in the cabin door
     And yelled to the men at the mines.
The gulch kept watch till he dropped from sight—
     Neighbors and girl and kin.
Jeff Hart rode out of the gulch one night;
     Next morning the world came in.

His dad went back to the clinking drills
     And his mother cooked for the men;
The pines branched black on the eastern hills,
     Then black to the west again.
But never again, by dusk or dawn,
     Were the days in the gulch the same,
For back up the hill Jeff Hart had gone
     The trample of millions came.

Then never a clatter of dynamite
     But echoed the guns of the Aisne,
And the coyote's wail in the woods at night
     Was bitter with Belgium's pain.
We hear the snarl of a savage sea
     In the pines when the wind went through,
And the strangers Jeff Hart fought to free
     Grew folks to the folks he knew.

Jeff Hart has drifted for good and all,
     To the ghostly bugles blown,
But the far French valley that saw him fall
     Blood kin to the gulch is grown;
And his foreign folks are ours by right—
     The friends that he died to win.
Jeff Hart rode out of the gulch one night;
     Next morning the world came in.

by  Charles Badger Clark, from Sun and Saddle Leather, 1915


Hal Swift recites this poem on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Five

Others

The daybreak comes so pure and still.
He said that I was pure as dawn,
That day we climbed to Signal Hill.
Back there before the war came on.
God keep me pure as he is brave,
And fit to take his name.
I let him go and fight to save
Some other girl from shame.

Across the gulch it glimmers white,
The little house we plotted for.
We would be sitting here tonight
If he had never gone to war

The firelight and the cricket's cheep,
My arm around his neck

I let him go and fight to keep
Some other home from wreck.

And every day I ride to town
The wide lands talk to me of him

The slopes with pine trees marching down,
The spread-out prairies, blue and dim.
He loved it for the freedom's sake
Almost as he loved me.
I let him go and fight to make
Some other country free.

by  Charles Badger Clark, from Sun and Saddle Leather, 1915

 

Read more about Badger Clark and his poetry here.


Sunlight

Sunlight, a colt from the ranges, glossy and gentle and strong,
     Dazed by the multiple thunder of wheels and the thrust of the sea,
Fretted and chafed at the changes—ah, but the journey was long!
     Officer's charger—a wonder—pick of the stables was he.

Flutter of flags in the harbor; rumble of guns in the street;
     England! and rhythm of marching; mist and the swing of the tide;
France and an Oriflamme arbor of lilies that drooped in the heat;
     Sunlight, with mighty neck arching, flecked with the foam of his pride!

Out from the trenches retreating, weary and grimy and worn,
     Lean little men paused to cheer him, turning to pass to their rest;
Shrilled him a pitiful greeting, mocking the promise of morn
     With hope and wild laughter to hear him answer with challenging zest.

Victory! That was the spirit!  Once they had answered the thrill;
     Toiled at the guns while incessant sang that invisible, dread
Burden of death.  Ah, to hear it, merciless, animate, shrill,
     Whining aloft in a crescent, shattering living and dead!

And Sunlight?  What knew he of battle?  Strange was this turmoil and haste.
     Why should he flinch at the firing; swerve at the mangled and slain?
Where was the range and the cattle?  Here was but carnage and waste;
     Yet with a patience untiring he answered to spur and to rein.

Answered, when, out of disorder, rout, and the chaos of night,
     Came the command to his master, "Cover the Seventh's retreat!"
On, toward the flame of the border, into the brunt of the fight,
     Swept that wild wind of disaster, on with the tide of defeat.

Softly the dawn-wind awaking fluttered a pennant that fell
     Over the semblance of Sunlight, stark in the pitiless day;
Riddled and slashed by the bullets sped from the pit of that hell . . .
     Groaning, his master, beside him, patted his neck where he lay.

"Sunlight, it was n't for glory . . . England . . . or France . . . or the fame
     Of victory . . . No . . . not the glowing tribute of history's pen.
Good-bye, old chap, for I'm going . . . earned it . . . your death is a shame . . .
     We fought for the world, not an Island . . . We fought for the honor of men."

 . . . . . . . . . . . .

So we have sold them our horses. What shall we do with the gold?
     Lay it on Charity's altar, purchasing columns of praise?
Noble indeed are our courses; running the race as of old;
     But why should we Mammonites falter?  Noble indeed are our ways.

by Henry Herbert Knibbs, from Riders of the Stars, 1916

A South Dakota Public television feature on wild horses reports about World War I being "the last cavalry battle":

Well before the United States sent its men into the fray, another resource had been drafted—its horses. World War I resembled the classic cavalry battle. But the new weapons of war proved devastating to the cavalrymen and their mounts. This war was was demarcated by impenetrable barbed wire. Machine guns massacred man and horse alike with little or no direct contact with their enemies. The horse's utility in battle was over. The death of millions of horses in this war drastically reduced the world's equine population.

Some estimates hold that six million horses served in the war zones of American troops. Most of them were killed. In the four years of the war, the United States was left with a seriously depleted stock of horses in America...

Read more about Henry Herbert Knibbs and his poetry here.

 

His Land

In the desert southwest sits a ranch house, distressed
By weather, time and neglect...
The shiplap is faded and the whole place leans
A tad to the left of erect.

An old cowboy sits out on his front porch,
Smoking a roll-your-own cigarette;
Since the radio quit, the paper's the only
Fresh news he's been able to get.

It lays on his lap as he sits in the dusk,
His face a map on old leather...
His thin hair combed over the top of his head,
The dog and him there together.

The old rocker creaks as he starts to read,
Hands shaking like new aspen leaves,
The front page photo shows two New York towers,
Shocked eyes register his disbelief.

The acres he owns were deeded to him by
His best friend who died in the War.
With no kith or kin, Frank cried, dying there,
"It's my land I've been fightin' for!

Now, you got to take it, Hab," he had said.
"Make it your dream in place of mine,
Although you know nothin' of ranchin' and cows,
You'll learn...an' make out just fine."

When the fight was done, he'd come to this place,
Dry land, but with one real good well.
It reminded Hab of the place he'd been born.
Searing heat like the fires out of hell;

Frank's dream lived in his soul through the long years,
It became his one guiding light.
The learning cost pride and bone breaking work,
But it gained him four boys and a wife.

They'd built a ranch on the bare piece of ground
That his buddy gave his life for;
His beloved wife died after thirty good years,
The sons were gone by seventy-four.

He lives here alone with his memories and
Talks to the one horse he keeps,
Along with his dog Kush, and some chickens,
A cow and a few head of sheep.

The old hand shivers and weeps in the dark,
Then rises at the first show of light
To go fetch his faded World War II flag,
His march at Bataan in his mind.

Many friends died in that hellish time, but
Back then the enemy was clear;
Now we must fight cruel cowards who will strike
The ideals this country holds dear.

He hangs "Old Glory" from its place on the porch,
Stands at attention out in the dirt...
And sings for the flag he fought to defend...
His uniform an old cowboy shirt.

The place of his birth is far, far away,
He sings with an accented voice.
The stirring anthem of the United States,
The Land that's his... only by choice. 

© 2001, Byrd Woodward
 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

This poem is included in our September 11th memorial feature.

 

 

Feather Henry

He was known as Feather Henry on th' ranches hereabout,      
Whenever you needed an extra hand, you'd hunt young Henry out.
Th' sign fer him was a hawk feather hung out on th' rancher's gate,
Sure enough, he'd show up in a week or so, dependable as fate.

Steppin' out on th' porch, you'd find 'im, hunched up aginst th' rain.
On his head he wore a cowpoke's hat that blew in off th' plain,
In th' band there was a feather from a high flyin' red-tailed hawk;
He'd have set out there a week, I guess, before you'd get him to knock;

Henry was born to a white girl who hadn't known 'gee' from 'haw,'
And a scared young Nez Perce' man runnin' hard from th' county law.
The boy was ten when his ma was drowned in a canyon flood;
His granddad turned th' kid away, couldn't bear his Indian blood.

Feather Henry would rake or mow or plow... do most any chore;
He slept in tack shacks an' woodsheds, ate at th' kitchen door.
Kindly ranch women kept him in duds, hand-me-downs from their kids,
Any one of them would have let him stay on... but Henry never did.

He moved around th' valley, showin' up when an' where he was needed
With hayin' or lambin' or when it was time t' get th' garden weeded.
One day Jed Grant found out by chance where Henry's true talents lay...
He could gentle a wild colt quiet, and do it in less than a day.

Henry could do some of lots of things, but when it came to a horse,
He could outshine anyone around, with light from an inner source.
Henry would whisper his horse talk, keepin' his hat down low,
He'd call wild ones out of th' hills, or in from th' prairies below.

Legend said Nez Perce' knew horses, Appaloosas were their pride;
Decked out in fancy trappin's, they showed th' Crow how t' ride. 
The word went 'round like wildfire...Feather Henry's fame soon grew;
Said he'd always called ponies an' hawks...th' white folks just never knew.

When it seemed no one livin' had the power t' calm those crazy eyes,
Henry'd lean quiet up aginst th' corral, backed by a blazin' sunrise.
Filled with doubt, th' throbbin' blood poured through th' critter's veins,
With flashin' hooves an' shudderin' hide, fear raced through their brains.

Th' boy would wait, still as a stone, 'til th' worst of it had passed,
Then he'd move slow, takin' the sun's glare out of their eyes at last.
Henry'd hunch his back up waitin' 'til he felt th' first shy move,
Then he'd cock his head  an' drop his hip t' show that he approved.

Their noddin' heads an' canted eyes would answer only to him...
He'd shoulder in, layin' his hands on th' young'un's quivverin' skins.
Nudgin' an' turnin'...walkin' away... speakin' in tongues of their own,
I never once saw Feather Henry come close t' bein' thrown.

I knew I'd been seein' wonders performed before my very eyes;
When I said as much t' Henry, he just looked at me, surprised.
He never seemed to comprehend the way that he'd been blessed,
Or even why th' rest of us had always seemed impressed.

Th' boy grew up to be a man, we'd come t' take him fer granted,
Stickin' some feathers up on th' gate whenever we needed his talent;
Time went by an' as things changed, th' country went t' war,
It was some other folks' fight in Asia, just like we'd done before.

Henry talked war talk like th' rest of us but no one thought he'd go,
Then he joined up an' spent his boot camp in a place called Quantico.
Henry went t' 'Nam an' when they shipped him an' his medals back,
We put him t' rest the Nez Perce' way... with hawk feathers in our hats.

© 2001, Byrd Woodward
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Byrd Woodward writes, "The young man in the poem is real, he just wasn't a whisperer.....he was a fellow my brother went to high school with, a talented writer and poet.....I've often wondered what we've missed by his death...I thought his work was wonderful."

 

Read more about Byrd Woodward and her poetry here.

 

The Patriot

At the close of the day, an old cowboy sets
kinda quiet in the old porch swing.
Now and then he'll softly whistle a tune,
or maybe he'll start to sing.

Then he'll change his mind and waggle his head,
and close his eyes in thought.
He thinks of Korea, the war over there,
and some of the lessons it taught.

When his gaze wanders over to the nearby hills,
he recalls how they look when it snows.
He studies the flag that he raised this mornin',
how it moves when the west wind blows.

If you look real close you'll see that a tear
gives a hint of some inner strife.
His mind's eye's seein' the faces of friends,
who long ago left this life.

The flag waves gently in the sunset sky,
and the old man raises his chin.
In his mind he's hearin' the sound of drums,
and he waits for the tune to begin.

When it does, his step is strong and brisk,
as he marches out to the flag.
He stops and stands there, watchin' it wave,
wipes his eyes with a pocket rag.

He continues his march to the old corral,
where his Morgan comes over to talk.
He saddles him up, and climbs on top,
and heads him out for a walk.

On a hill, he wonders if the whole blamed thing
was worth all the friends he lost.
Headin' home, he knows down deep in his heart,
he too, would have paid the cost.

Yeah, he shared the peril, but he returned
to his home in the sand and the sage.
Then, back at his flag, he thanks all his pards
for lettin' him reach old age.

© 2004, Hal Swift
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Read more about Hal Swift and his poetry here.

 

 


© 2016, Al "Doc" Mehl, docmehl.com 
War Memorial Plaza, San Francisco, February, 2016
 


Michael Bia

You spent your childhood wild and free,
And none of us could then foresee
How you'd touch our lives, or to what degree.
We never knew you, Michael Bia.

You life was in the land and sky;
Vermillion cliffs and mesas high.
These were yours to occupy.
You were of Diné, Michael Bia.

You rode the bulls and rode them well,
But you wouldn't leave the reservation's Citadel
Though it was known you could excel.
Ah, you could ride 'em Michael Bia.

The White House called; you left your land,
And off you went to Viet Nam,
To a war you did not understand.
You did your duty, Michael Bia.

You fought with honor and with pride,
But before the fighting could subside
In that far off land, you died.
You gave the ultimate, Michael Bia.

At Window Rock in sixty-eight
They turned a bull out of the gate,
And his bell rang loud to reiterate
Our thank you, Michael Bia.

Diné, and white men, too
Stood and shed a tear for you;
And though your time on earth is through
May God keep you, Michael Bia.

Now often when I think of the past
Or cross that reservation vast,
Or see Old Glory at half-mast,
I think of Michael Bia.

Ya'at'eeh, Hastiin!  (Ya-ta-hey, Has-teen!)

© 2001, Chris Isaacs
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Diné is what the Navajos call themselves; it means "The People."

Chris Isaacs writes about this poem:

There are things that happen in our lives that we have absolutely no control over, which become a part of us forever. Such was the case with the poem about Michael Bia.

I got out of the U. S. Marine Corps in January of 1967 just as things were really starting to heat up in Vietnam.  Michael Bia was leading the bull riding standings for the AIRCA when he was drafted and sent to Viet Nam just about the time I was discharged.  He never came home.

In 1968 my wife Helena and I were at the Fourth of July rodeo in Window Rock, Arizona, where I was entered when something happened that haunted me for years. The Navajo tribe paid tribute to Michael Bia at that rodeo by taking his chaps and spurs and attaching them to a bull with Michael's bull rope and then turning the bull loose in the arena during a moment of silence. Nothing has ever affected me quite like that short moment of tribute to a fellow cowboy/comrade-in-arms, and I have thought of it many, many times over the years...The first time that I tried to recite it, I broke down and cried, which kept me from trying it again for quite a while. Then in 1997 at the Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering I was on the Veterans' Session with Joel Nelson, Rod McQueary, and some others, and managed to get through the entire thing...I have had many Vets thank me for the poem, which means a great deal to me...I did a show near Washington, D. C. a few years ago, and made it to the Wall (the Vietnam Memorial) where I found Michael's name...

...excerpted from Chris Isaacs' Will Rogers Medallion Award winning book, Rhymes, Reasons and Pack Saddle Proverbs


Vietnam War Memorial
photo by Carol M. Highsmith; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Chris Isaacs recites this poem on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Five

 

Read more about Chris Isaacs and his poetry here and at his web site.

 

lander evening

from Gloria

Bill used to mention
Vietnam sometimes—
Snippets of story
I heard but never
felt.
He might have been describing
Mars or
Disneyland
It was an untouchable
Part of his past.

Last October,
Our Pastor told the Bishop
About Bill's poetry.
While he was here, he
Dropped by.
Bill did his funny ones
Two or three
And mentioned in passing
He had written some
Serious Poems
     About his war.

The Bishop asked to hear one, so
Bill went away and came
Back with
"Body Burning Detail."
Halfway through it,
He broke down.

I just remember him
Sitting there,
Shaking,
His agony
His anguish
Pouring down his face
And suddenly,
     For me,
It was real.
I could feel
     with my heart
     and soul
What he could never
Describe
I think
I began to
Understand.

from the Bishop

I have a natural connection
With Bill
My Great-Aunt was born
near the ranch where
He works.
I like cowboys
Love Poetry,
enjoyed his story
about coming to Lander
to Recover.
He recited some funny poems,
We laughed and laughed.
It's all great

Then Bill said
There is something I've never
     Read before I wonder
If it would be all right.
He took it out
began to read.
It became quiet
By the time he had to stop
We all were weeping.
When it was over,
We sat and talked
     and prayed.

I have used Bill's poem
Several times
Since then,

and I carry it with me.

from Bill

I almost couldn't get through
"Body Burning Detail."
I tried
But I couldn't
     Speak.
The Bishop said
I'm so sorry
     so sorry,
You don't have to 
finish it
     and I said
Yes I do
Yes
     I do

© 1993, Rod McQueary, All rights reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

This poem is from Blood Trails, published in 1993 by Rod McQueary and Bill Jones, a collection of poems from their Vietnam experiences.  

Read more about Rod McQueary and his poetry here.

 

The Flag Out on the Ranch

It was an old and faded flag but it was always there,
for visitors to see it freely waving in the air.

He'd say "I always fly it every time I get a chance,
although I know it's odd to see it out here on this ranch."

And when you'd ask about it, his face would beam with joy
he'd tell how he went off to war when he was but a boy.

He said it changed him to a man and changed him much too fast
from scenes imprinted on his mind...but that is in the past.

He lost a lot of comrades but somehow his life was spared;
and pleased him so when folks would fly their flag to show they cared.

Then said, "I hope you'll fly one, and never take it down
even though you're in the country and a long long way from town.

'cause there's still a lot of boys fighting hard to keep us free
although it may be for a cause in which you disagree."

Now, ever since that day when he explained this all to me
I know just why he flies it when it's just for him to see.

It's to show appreciation for those who gave their best,
and that flag is always flying on his ranch there in the West.

© 2006, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Song for Josiah

In the Sandhills of Nebraska was the first one
A flag on a great big bale of hay
And, I wondered just what that flag was there for
But, I would see many more that day
I took a break from driving for some coffee
And stopped in at the local town café
Out of curiosity I asked the waitress
Just why all those flags were flying that day

She said, “We’re flying those flags for Josiah
After all it is the least that we can do
To show our respect for his service
Defending our red, white and blue

He grew up living right here in the Sand Hills
And proudly answered the Nation’s call
He cherished the freedom of our country
To prove it he gladly gave his all

So, we’re flying those flags for Josiah
After all it is the least that we can do
To show our respect for his service
Defending our red, white and blue
Now, they’re bringing him back home to stay

I pondered those tearful words she told me
As I continued traveling on my way
I’ll show them all we never will forget them
I’ll fly a flag on our ranch every day

For those who have sacrificed so much for us
To let them know just how much we care
It’s a symbol of how we love our freedom
In the stars and stripes high up in the air

Let’s all fly a flag for Josiah
And for all of our country’s veterans, too
They’ve all paid a price for our freedom
After all, it’s the least we can do
Yes, they’ve all paid a price for our freedom
Defending the red, white and blue
After all, it is the least that we can do

© 2008, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

This poem, put to music by Jean Prescott on her America— Home Sweet Home CD, honors the memory of Corporal Josiah Hollopeter, grandson of poet Willard Hollopeter. Josiah Hollopeter, age 27, was killed in Al Muqdidiyah, Iraq in June, 2007.

Yvonne told us about her inspiration for what became "Song for Josiah":

It was a two-fold situation.

I knew Josiah had been killed in Iraq as our horse-breaking hired hand, Tyrel Licking, was a cousin to Josiah and had received the call from his mother while eating supper at our table. At the time, they did not know when Josiah's body was going to be brought home, or funeral arrangements, or anything.

That following week, I had to go to Omaha regarding my brain tumor situation. From my appointments in Omaha, I was heading clear across the state of Nebraska (400+ miles) to Gordon to stay a couple days with my mother who was not well. While driving across Highway 20 intersecting the vast Sandhills, I started noticing flags everywhere; in hay bales, on ranch signs, even on windmills—literally everywhere. It looked strange to see them in such wide open spaces where the you usually only see cattle and wildlife.

I stopped at a little village of Wood Lake to use the restroom at a roadside cafe and get another cup of coffee (Wood Lake is about 25 miles East of Valentine). While there I asked the waitress why all the flags were flying everywhere and she teared up and said, "They're bringing Josiah home today." I wrote the poem en route on to Gordon.

Valentine was literally solid flags as I went through and someone had made a huge heart out of flags on the front parking area of Valentine Feed Service, a business run by Josiah's father, Kenny.

The second thing that came out of all of this was the fact that I had just been told my brain tumor had returned and they were scheduling me for an upcoming gamma-knife surgery. So between that and my parents' situation, I had been having a royal pity-party. Seeing those flags and learning the reason they were flying put my life in perspective and I no longer was feeling sorry for myself.

It sure gave me something else to think about and the poem was the result.

 

See a 2008 Picture the West dedicated to Josiah Hollopeter here.

See a video created by Josiah's mother that includes Jean Prescott's song  here.

 


Read about Yvonne Hollenbeck and more of her poetry
here.

 

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