Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Different Christmas Poem

It seems most times I want to have a pity party for myself, God sends me gentle little reminders in various ways. This time it was in an email from my dear friend Jodi that I grew up with in Iowa. Tom will be gone for Christmas this year and I was feeling a little down and in my email was this little reminder of what I have to be thankful for. So grab a tissue and enjoy the poem.

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,>
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.>
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,>
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.>
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,>
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.>>>

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,>
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.>
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,>
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.>
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,>
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.>>>
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,>
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.>
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the>
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.>
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,>
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.>>>

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,>
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.>
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,>
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.>
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,>
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.>>>
'What are you doing?' I asked without fear,>
'Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!>
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,>
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!'>
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,>
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.>>>
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light>
Then he sighed and he said 'Its really all right,>
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.'>
'It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,>
That separates you from the darkest of times.>>>
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,>
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.>
My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,'>
Then he sighed, 'That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.'>
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',>
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.>>>
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,>
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.>
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,>
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.>
I can live through the cold and the being alone,>
Away from my family, my house and my home.>>>
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,>
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.>
I can carry the weight of killing another,>
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..>
Who stand at the front against any and all,>
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.'>>>
' So go back inside,' he said, 'harbor no fright,>
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right.'>
'But isn't there something I can do, at the least,>
'Give you money,' I asked, 'or prepare you a feast?>
It seems all too little for all that you've done,>
For being away from your wife and your son.'>>>
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,>
'Just tell us you love us, and never forget.>
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,>
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.>
For when we come home, either standing or dead,>
To know you remember we fought and we bled.>
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,>
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.'>>

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN>
30th Naval Construction Regiment>
OIC, Logistics Cell One>
Al Taqqadum, Iraq


Beverly said...

beautiful and thanks once again for the reminder.

kari and kijsa said...

Beautiful poem. thank you!
kari & kijsa