Becky

A BOX MADE OF IRONWOOD

A box made from wood, from Manzanita,
Ironwood it’s called, a box that will withstand the fires of hell,

The hotter the fire, the stronger the wood,
A box that cannot be burned or destroyed

A perfect box for keeping memories and deeds locked away
A box from which they cannot escape, cannot see the light of day

Locked with a simple brass turnkey,
It opens so easy for me

Inside I find memories long locked away
Memories I now bring into the light of day

Pictures, many pictures, all old, all worn, and tattered and torn
Pictures in color, pictures with no color, pictures with no names

Pictures of a lonely desert house, pictures that show a boy and girl;
Handsome young boy, beautiful young girl, she has long hair

Eyes, black eyes that sparkle in the desert sun, how beautiful she is
Strength, massive strength is seen in his young body, signs of the man he will be.

Pictures of horses, wild beautiful magnificent horses
A picture of three young men, and a beautiful young woman

Three powerful men in their prime, all standing over six feet tall;
Strong and full of life, breaking horses and loving life

A young woman, small of stature, a face of such beauty,
A woman’s figure, full and strong, a body for the bearing of children

Three men, one the brother with her in their mother’s womb;
Two men, suitors for the young woman; her brother only smiles

A picture, a wedding picture, taken in the deserts of their home;
In it a beautiful young woman and a tall strong Indian warrior

Pictures of jungles, pictures of men, men with stripes on their faces and clothes
Pictures of Men, of Warriors, pictures of men soon to die

Pictures of villages, burned to the ground, bodies laying all around
Pictures of Men, grim determination on their face and revenge in their eyes

Parchments, many parchment papers, papers with words of magnificent deeds
Parchments with words of courage and valor or love for his brothers

Letters from his wife, letters full of love
Letters that talk of how it will be, when home he returns

News paper article, Los Angeles 1968
Birth of a boy child, his first born

Parchments with words of praise and words of glory and honor
Medals, many, many medals, badges and patches and two Berets.

What are they? What do they mean? Which words go with them?
These are the memories of a soldier at war; of those he lost.

Letters, many, many letters, letters from his sister
Letters full of life and plans and of love

Letters from his wife, her letters are complaining
No longer do words of love from her to him come

Messages, messages from the Army, tear stained papers
We regret, we are sorry to inform, killed in action, missing in action

A small newspaper obituary: “Killed in Action”
Picture of a young Indian woman, heavy with child

Tears on her cheeks, heart is broken.
Her husband she sends home to his Gods

Her brother is still missing in action
He is found, he is alive

Berets, funny looking green hats,
Blood stained, her husband’s blood and her brothers blood

Newspaper article… In Los Angles 1970,
Birth of a boy child, his second

Newspaper article, San Carlos,
1970, birth of a girl child, her first and only

More Army papers – many, many more papers
All say something of his years and skills and job

Divorce papers, his wife want him no more
Custody papers, his wife wants not their sons

Newspaper article San Carlos Arizona
1975, woman murdered, child an orphan

Death certificate: His sister’s – 1975 Arizona.
Hard to read, very descriptive, his tears stain the paper

Adoption papers, 1975, Arizona and California
A small girl without parents is adopted by her Uncle

A mortgage trust deed – their house, her house now as well.
A marriage certificate: Los Angeles, 1976 October 1.

Adoption certificates, 1977 Los Angeles,
Three motherless children now have a mother

Papers, Coast Guard papers, his licenses,
His Third Offices license, His Second Officers License

More Coast Guard papers, His Chief Officers License
His Master Mariners License., any ocean any vessel no limits

Death certificates, Arizona, his Mother, Arizona, his Father
Death certificates, New York, her father

Achievement certificates, Children are doing well
Certificates from schools for all of their children

Report cards: hers always excellent in all classes.
Her brothers average except in sports, each one saved

Pictures drawn by small hands, school pictures;
All carefully dated and saved. Each with a loving comment

Letters from a husband to his wife, letters filled with love
Postmarked from faraway places bearing his love for her

Pictures of children growing up – of children becoming grown:
Pictures of his wife – his reason for living.

Each picture carefully dated, each weathered and worn.
Each hand drawn picture has been handled until the edges are worn

I wonder on how many bulkheads they have been placed,
How many places have these pictures seen?

More pictures, pictures of ships, his ships
Ships and ports and places most will never know

Letters home from those faraway places
Letters sending his love home

Letters from his home, from his family
Letters sending their love to him

Each letter, each picture a memory
Each a memory of a man and woman

Each piece of life and death, each memory
Each memory echoes his life and his death

His memories of life when very young
His memories of life as a young man
His memories of life as a soldier
His memories of life and death in war
His memories of one way of life ending
His memories of raising three small children alone
His memories of meeting his reason for living
Her memories of meeting her reason for living
Her memories of raising their families

Their memories, and now I will add mine as well

This is the Memory Box, it cannot be burned
It cannot be destroyed, our memories are now
And forever protected by this box of Ironwood