Category Archives: Memory

England 1941 (Veteran’s Day Tribute)

England 1941

By pond’s still quiet,
November found
‘neath blackened trees
and leaves of brown,
that chime through winds,
season’s decay
rustle the drying grasses to say
or whisper their seed tossed song.
Where prayer is heard
in sweetest words,
bless offspring’s journey,
brave, yet long…

Reeds, by pond’s edge, do blush
with naked stalks and seeds that flush
this breeze with passers by.
Where clouds of grey and white on blue
hang low, and brooding up the view
soften this season’s sigh…

Now above my head a thunder rises,
behind a cloud on blue, surprises
peace with a warring sound.
Two birds of war, in roaring chase,
bend wing on wing around the face
of the grey insipidous cloud.
There turn and twist by engine’s roar,
dive and stretch to fight for one more
breath, or one more shroud…

These two alone in November’s sky
bring anxious thoughts that recall why
I’m sitting here
amidst this November’s season.
Where God’s inspired this nature’s reason,
so disturbed by mankind’s cry
to peace and conquest, home and faith,
for loved one’s whose lives we face
this terror from the sky.
Where wisps of clouds become our means
to face the birds of war in seams
where their anger waits and hides.

These two on wooded edge, now slowly
chase, evade, and roar past lowly
dancing o’er the distant shore.
Yellow blasts and glints of sun
as black unfurls and spirals run
above to yonder clouds.
Where now the victor soars to heights
while in defeat and smoke the fight
twists slowly at the horizon,
and ends in forest’s shroud.

Tomorrow, I may be so blessed,
to rise to clouds of height and best
the anger of this season.
My bird and I pray for reason
to see us through.
There seek another autumn’s day,
and in it offer thanks and pray
my soul comes back to you.

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Filed under History, Memory, Nature, Photography, Poetry

Bells of War

Clouds of war
loom to the east,
reflecting sun’s horizon
of deepest setting’s,
rose and peach.
Be it blood tomorrow,
or garden’s rising?

Surreal, the silence of this dusk,
hangs on the clouds of night’s foreboding,
clings its matter to my mind,
start memories’ work, noting
the tortured gray
of seasons past,
where men lie dead
in fields of grass,
while clouds of cannon smoke hang sighing,
weep to their young spent souls,
and beckon fast their rising.

In clamor, fall the hoof-steps
of wagons hearsed and calling
to stack the flesh, and there return
these bodies, to the bawling
eyes and hearts of loves
whose secret fear’s now summoned,
and in the wake of dead, leave tears
in sorrowed river’s running.

In distant air the sounds are heard
that confound the very reason
of men entrenched, and fighting still
beyond this deathfield’s treason.
The dogs of war, beyond it all,
hounds in chase, instinctual service
draw the hoofs and wagons on,
to serve this warring’s purpose.

In setting sun of future days,
our hearts will cry a humble phrase
that war is waste and serves just death.
And so regret the scornful ways
when tempest reigned our judgment’s tack,
in retrospect we’d like it back
and return our loved ones whole.
When regret is ours, and lessons learned
have etched the living soul,
we’ll know war serves not our purpose,
for life and love’s our role…
Yet today, the bells of war do toll.

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Filed under History, Memory, Photography, Poetry

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

Old Books

Spines aligned across the wall,
titles pressed as great names call
to mix my mind within…

Some of fiction, some of fact,
some that capture heroic acts,
and some to just dwell in…

The musk of age is held in those
whose dogears came from those who chose
to feel each written line…

That when I read again each page,
the now’s removed and so my age
draws even with the time…

When hands since passed and eyes long dry
embraced the words as now do I,
through written word return to life
and share with me in kind…


Filed under Memory, Photography, Poetry

Brick and Mortar

Brick and mortar, matched to fit
the very shape of timeline drawn,
laid in purposed course to sit,
and there life’s perfect line be shown.

The course we lay, this wall in truth,
is built through season’s changing ways.
That it should stay or falter proof
of what our honest souls do play
is incongruous
to a path in life –
thus imperfection therein is rife
with sum based in the “who” of us.

Thoughts of who we are become
the placement for the next block laid.
Yet as each course in mortar is run,
symmetry drifts through moments played,
through love and life and challenge granted –
the keys to days of what’s enchanted
or what might seem for naught.
It’s this mosaic, by grace incanted
that holds our spirit, caught.

Gestalt in temporal waves reflect
pain or pride in each defect –
discolorations highlight tides
where deep, or upon, we took our ride –
Cracks and fissures, the challenge points
by which we broke or fixed a joint
and tried to carry on –
… for years a life was built upon…
Now looking back, it seems near gone.

Yet beauty in what our souls have made
stands in history’s humble glade.
Life in triumph and losses tragic,
each mosaic, each course laid, magic!
that we will reckon lessons
within our final breath,
know the truth of love and loss
and secrets that were kept,
heal our hearts and passions
in knowing that we should
touch this wall of brick and mortar
and see that it is good.

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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

In honor of the Battle of Shilo

Brave of the brave the twice five thousand men

Who all that day stood in the battle’s shock

Fame holds them dear, and with immortal pen

Inscribes their names on the enduring rock

April 6 – 7, 1862 ~ Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee


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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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Filed under Family, History, Memory, Photography, Poetry

Letter from Europe – WWII

101st Airborne

In broken building’s barricade,
a rest from war’s eternal call,
on foreign soil my feet have trod
to pause me here, beside this wall.
Where great the lives of past have dwelt,
whose thoughts imagined, curious,
to bless mankind with creative hands,
or debate life’s truths in furious
banter and gesture strong,
with passioned art and voice,
and so propel God’s gifts to man
as just and right in human choice.

Today, the battle rages,
with cost to life in wrongs thought right.
Today, by wall in broken hall,
the battle calls to stand and fight,
the fight of freedom, truth and life
that faces a black oppression,
by men who seek to force their will
upon the weak without concession.

Tho’ my life may end here,
away from home and those I love,
my choice, my right, my duty’s here,
to ensure the liberty of those I love.

So again this ancient land,
enrobed in Europe’s history,
falls witness to decision’s point,
enraged with wars strong fury.
That if the will of right prevail,
in compassion’s truth courageous,
than all shall live beyond the moments
when danger’s dark engage us.
Or if I fall beside this wall,
my blood be spilt in histories’ making,
that I’ll have left my values true,
to those I love, my past in waking.

So hold me close sweet hand of God,
protect and bless those back home I love,
grant strength to war’s decision point,
let truth and compassion rise above…
For I am but a soldier,
embattled to values I hold as truths,
that tho’ the burden in war brings death,
I pray my strength will grant the proof,
that this war’s been not in vain.

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The Fade

Slowly into autumn goes the ash of life –
fading grey the colors in the shade of season’s strife.

Crack the flesh to wrinkles in these hands next to callous worn.
Creak the bones by years gone by from toil and the laden born.

Cut a life long’s deepest green in shades of rusting red.
Fold the summer’s grasses down, prepare a winter’s bed.

Hush the bird alone whose song in morning rings,
yet listen closely to the verse in what his evening heart does sing.

Touch the river’s stones exposed in autumn’s waning draw.
Feel the naked sense of woods standing still in quiet, raw.

Draw the shadows cast, as long, by sun in autumn sinking.
Embrace the fade and raise a glass to everything your soul is thinking.

Solemn is the musk of woods that color in decay.
Quiet is the rustling hush that whispers through the day.

Somber is the acrid sky that bends a sharper focus,
brings clarity to mind and eye to close this year before us.

Thus by aging hand, this pen upon this yellowed paper,
fits into this autumn’s glove to beg the fade one favor…

“Do drip the honey sweet, of autumn’s red and gold,
grant these calloused crackling hands another page to hold.
Fit your progress slowly that I may see each gold leaf fall.
Grant the sun a warming breath upon my face before the call
of winter so lets in –
Please let me toast this fade again!”

In honor of D. A-Bone
“Toast to the Fade”

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Filed under Memory, Mountains, Nature, Photography, Poetry