21 Guns

This is a poem I wrote many years ago after a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. It’s one I like to post on Memorial Day. Let us all take a moment to remember the fallen.

The tour bus rumbles past
the quiet monuments to the fallen.
Shutters click as the tour guide
speaks the litany of the shrine,
that once was the Lee estate.
Now it is that hallowed ground
where solders come for that long rest.
The Quick rumble past the carved stones
of the Dead, that once placed
boots of war on their feet.
Their soles now silent.
Now day-trippers take aim and fire.
Cameras, not rifles.
Pictures, not prisoners taken.
The bus stops. The microphone is silent.
To the left a horse pulls a caisson carrying a flag-draped box
That contains a name who once walked.
The warrior sent at our command.
The sightseer sees and falls silent
And hears the echo of guns.
Three volleys and then the mournful notes.
Boys became men
And men became names
And names became graves
Gone is the sun,
Day is done.
God is Nigh.

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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23 Responses to 21 Guns

  1. This is a lovely reflection. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A very moving poen Andrew!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your last stanza gave me shivers. Well written!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dave says:

    Powerful phrases, Andrew. Made me feel like I was right there in Arlington as I read your words. I haven’t been there since I was very young – need to get back. In the meantime, more poetry please.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Oh my, Andrew. Sublime poetry, and such a fitting concluding line. Praise God he is nigh with his loving offer of eternal life for any and all who draw nigh to His Son (John 3:16).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent poem with a great last paragraph. Thanks, Andrew.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Baydreamer says:

    Well written, Andrew!


  8. dorannrule says:

    My sister-in-law lies in rest there. She was a military nurse who had the horse drawn caisson and the gun salute and the presentation of the flag. An awesome place.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A fitting tribute. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a lovely poem, Andrew. Very powerful, especially the last stanza.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for this perfect remembrance. I shared it on Twitter and also my Memorial Day board on Pinterest. Remembering Grandma Leora Wilson who lost three sons during WWII. #leoraslettersthestoryofloveandlossforoneiowafamilyduringworldwarii #fiveservedonlytwocamehome #dallascountyfreedomrock #memorialday #neverforget

    Liked by 1 person

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