Elaine Ricketson Danks


A vernal carpet thick and sweet has rolled out across the hill;
Its pattern woven of new-green leaves and golden daffodil,
whose ruffled cups merrily nod in time with the playful breeze
that softly sings as it darts among the silent, gnarly trees.

Rows of white marble glow luminous in sun and dappled shade,
arrayed in perfect, stilled formation of this, their last, parade
across hallowed fields of honor and on into history;
they stand smartly at attention now for all eternity.

I sink into the supernal quiet; fingers stroke cool stone
and trace the incised name of he who gave me my own.
The chiseled words are Spartan – far too few, too spare
to begin to tell the story of the young life ended there.

“Sep 5, 1922 – Apr 7, 1945” it reads; that was the first
of the Aprils – the day our whole world shook and burst,
leaving unending emptiness where he once had been.
And so another April finds me here again.

Author’s Note: Written after a visit to Arlington National Cemetery