Category Archives: Family

Brooks 23

The day, in somber grey, yet clear and cold, a January gift, forms a shadowed curtain of question, of what’s uncertain around me and those now standing here. Cold winter’s breeze, broken sun and sienna shadows – coats and scarves and dresses blow, flapping black, midst watery eyes and reddened noses. They wait… we wait… to humbly let us in, by our own stiffened procession, past memory cards, photos, guest register and pen.

In the distance beyond the foyer, his image pronounced largely midst flowers, lights and the wall, past the glass curtain set there. So many, so full, yet behind me the line is eternal, of those here to pay their respect, to trade a sorrowful heart for a memory, trade to hope from regret.
I wonder if I’ve grown calloused, my emotions are real and on my sleeve, but this pain is nothing new to me. So many I’ve given back, so many, so close…

Yet in this crowd of caring souls I see the faces of children I know, now grown, now boldly standing in their own paths – young adults bound here, for this moment, this January afternoon, as one. I see Seth and Alex and Gabe and Chris and Matt and so many more… and Ben… I recall them young, unaware, unafraid, children with a safe home calling – warm, quiet, confident home… Yet today – they stand as men… together and yet alone. Each on their path, seeing the world from their own eyes, through their own life’s experiences. Together, facing a reality none ever expected they’d share. Their faces are long and somber – their youth denies them their age, and moments turn to eons before my eyes – they all look so tired, so old. In these expressions I see their pain, only relieved by the stories of memories shared… of the one now gone… laughter, tears, gasps and grappling for strength to pull them forward… they each see this from different eyes – yet all the same – collectively, as something more beautiful than the whole – it’s love I see – for each other, for life, for what they’ve lost, for the trials, the triumphs, the lessons learned from mistakes – but mostly for the hope that they share, a better strength and hope for tomorrow…

… names are called, and answered in roll… standing one by one, … but one … “Benjamin Scott Brooksmith”… again … again … The momentary silence between the calling crushes my will to endure and the tears come – and like a heaven sent thunder, bagpipes begin… “Amazing Grace” pounds like the beat of a heart in despair… The young men stand there, endure their own grief… some wavering, some grasping to stand steady, some with head hung long, and some tall and accepting… The pipes end and I feel weightless, off the cliff and over the edge – it is done…

We gathered to remember, to share our grief, to find consolation for our souls, to seek an understanding…

We found the strong echoes of love!

I found these children grown, baptized by life, confirmed in peace, and set free as a generation.
The cold day hasn’t changed outside… January sun betrayed by her bitter wind. Hugs and whispers… tears toward the door…

The walk back to my truck is empty – carved hollow by the blank echoes of footsteps – retracting to the fabric of life… moving on in time without choice. The moments have come and gone – only memories remain… … as I drive, it seems that all the world is empty and everyone I see grieves with me, and understands – The music playing seems to speak to my aching heart, my vision of those young faces… every lyric seems pointed in meaning – and the voice there dips in and out of the voices of my long passed brothers, father, mother…

.. the day is grey with January sun and cold… I fell tired, I feel old…

God bless them all –

God bless Ben.

J. Blue – 25-Jan-2010

In loving memory – 3 years later – the young men and women I know, have all risen to the calling of each of their lives, although two more left their midst in that time. I’m proud of them all. Love them all dearly.
J. Blue – 20-Jan-2013

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Filed under Family, Memory, Poetry


I have a voice, it’s mine I know,
distinct to me and for no other,
yet similar tones to mine are shared,
from my father to my brothers.
Yet, my voice in daily trappings
folds, through pitch relaxed or hard at work,
so bends its tone from strength to stress,
and there, behind my true voice lurks
with my heart, and’s rarely seen.

And as my heart, in truest passion,
exudes itself from me, to share
the values I hold close,
to bestow with loving care
upon the ones I so inspire,
or who inspire me,
my voice, does too, exude its truth
when released by heart, its tones to sing.

There within the timbre rings
the truthful tones of who I am,
and how my purpose crafted,
for unique in song
my voice is drawn,
through such, my soul is drafted
into the mix of heartfelt tones,
my diaphragm thus reaching,
to share my soul in spirited voice,
through cambered heights of preaching
strong the craft of God,
in soul felt song,
and there bestow
a voice that’s more of who I am,
and what my soul should show.

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Faithful Follower


Smile deep and dimples showing,
he is my dog, my best friend true…
In leaps and bounds twixt autumn’s grasses,
his honesty and love shows through!

At pond’s edge reeds he steps and nuzzles,
looking for a scent to chase,
then up again with tail a waggin’
brings life’s true smile upon my face.

He waits beside me, never falters,
while fingers write and smoke drifts on…
My faithful follower, my true companion,
he brings the harmony to this October song.

And now that cigar is burning fingers,
I’ll turn to him with anxious eyes,
“where now” his thoughtful smile will answer,
towards home we’ll walk, ‘neath autumn’s sky.

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Soldier’s Prayer

In the Field –

I’ve joined the fight to do what’s right
in aid of land and liberty.
I’ve stood my soul from head to toe
to fight as men who’re free,
Through mountains insurmountable
and trials that no man should know,
I hold my creed to do what’s right
that through it all this truth will show –

“God bless the loved ones of my home,
relieve their worry and their fear.
Grant them peace in knowing
that we fight as free men here.

Protect my brothers beside me,
bless their step that they’ll not fall.
Grant compassion’s wisdom,
that they’ll do right when anger calls.

Find me in your vision,
grant me strength when I’m alone.
Guide my hand with wisdom
that I may carry truth back home.

Forgive injustice when it’s played,
grant me strength to forgive in same,
that if You call for me here,
honor may embrace my name.
– Amen”

Those at Home –

They joined the fight to do what’s right
for peace and liberty.
Tall they stand, hand in hand
to represent all men who’re free.
Through trials unimaginable
and fears I know I’ll never know,
I know they hold their creed as truth
and through their actions honor shows.

“God bless our soldiers far from home,
comfort their worry and their fear.
Grant them peace in knowing
that we hold them close, we hold them dear.

Protect the men beside them,
guide each step, one and all.
Grant compassion’s wisdom
that unjust anger never calls.

Keep them in your vision, Lord,
hold them close when they’re alone.
Guide their path with wisdom
that together they may return to home.

Grant their hearts forgiveness
when injustice makes its claim.
Watch over them, protect them –
This I ask in your good name
– Amen”


Filed under Family, History, Memory, Photography, Poetry

My Father’s Sacrifice

Nello R. Arterburn – Staff Sargeant, 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team, Company G – of the original cadre of the 3rd Battalion

Images thanks to the Wings of Freedom Tour – Fort Collins, CO – July 7th, 2012 – through reinactment and exhibited equipment
God Bless!


Filed under Family, History, Memory, Photography

My Brother

My brother, my friend,
on life’s open field I’ve found you,
beyond the clamor and noise of the day.
Into your eyes, I see life has left you,
and so, for your good soul I pray.

In depths of the battle,
you rescued my stand,
where moments stretch told
would have forced this life’s hand.
In compassion and honor
you smiled to me tall,
yet for you, I could not
rescue your fall.

My beloved brother,
our father’s good son,
how can it be that
your soul has moved on,
to the wide open spaces
past earthly lament,
where heaven does welcome
the souls of such men?

Oh cry out sweet angels
and wrap in your arms
the soul of this good man.
Embrace in your charms,
and shed such a tear
to herald this soul,
that all who have known him
will pause in their role,
and recall his kind insight,
smile from his strength,
remember his laughter
and passion, at length.

Bring to us comfort
that his truth carries on,
in the lives that he touched
and his echoes in song.
Grant us the knowledge
that comes with such peace,
that forever he’s with us
in memory. Release
our sad grieving
by the truths of his deeds.
Allow us the strength
to go-on, not recede…

My brother, my friend,
through your life I’ve been blessed.
Please forgive living’s distance
and moves where I guessed
and faltered my step,
that left you alone.
For still do I love you,
even tho’ you have gone.

My stride and courage
so strengthened by you.
My compassion made deeper.
My love made more true.
By what you have given
unselfishly each day,
may I hold to such truths,
honor you … I pray.

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Family Memory – a Prayer

Family Prayer

How quiet is the lonely wood
where ‘midst these markers lay –
How lonely are the steps between
the graves of those I walk today –
How peaceful is the summer corn
around this church’s graveyard stands.
How steadfast this emotion seems
When pen’d from living hands –

At rest and peace I find thee,
silent ‘neath the clustered trees –
With truth and love I bless thee,
while praying from my knees!


Filed under Family, Memory, Photography, Poetry


Homer – all soul!

This faithful friend bestows such love
to those who simply pass by.

With pat on head and gentle stroke,
release the daily burden’s yoke
and cast a calm relenting.
Sparkled eyes and dimpled grin,
my dog, companion and truest friend,
echoes truth throughout his values,
no lies and no defending.

He sits in calm and watches life,
beside my constant writing,
and hopes for a child to smile on him,
scratch his ears, thus confiding
the source of a happy grin.

His tales are tall,
he calls them all,
to speak of squirrel hunting.
Yet laughs and jokes until the end,
then lays him down in growl and grunting.
This faithful watcher of my day,
beside me walks and never strays,
he looks to me with fun and tease,
echoes my footsteps to only please
whatever my life is wanting.

He is my friend, companion true,
and I’d be lost without him!


Filed under Family, Mountains, Nature, Photography, Poetry