Linda Marie Van Tassell

Freshman - 564 Points (Lynchburg, Virginia)

Crosses To Bear - Poem by Linda Marie Van Tassell

The vacuous column of rain pounds the earth,
crushing the autumnal leaves upon the ground.
The wind is a eulogy, a battle-cry,
as the solemn faces of life gather round.

The black arms of death encircle the soldier,
and the slumbering dust makes room for one more.
His mother's marble lips are locked in despair.
The scythe's broad blade has taken one of the corps.

The flag of the nation becomes her solace,
her only comfort which she holds to her breast;
and the power and pride that once adorned her
have become a shadow that she lays to rest.

The rifles are raised in a booming salute.
A wave of white hands gives honor and glory.
The heavens bow in darkness, the breezes sweep;
and the mountains echo this tragic story.

For, though he fought on a bloody battlefield,
it was not the enemy that shot him down.
Alcohol and drugs and post traumatic stress
were the living bullets that riddled his crown.

Behold the black wall, the tomb of the unknown,
and the rows of crosses that impale the ground.
These are the reminders, the horrors of war,
upon which the house of our nation was found.

As the silent steps walk away from the grave,
the night-dews glisten upon the haunted hill.
They carried the cross; and they bare it in death,
showing the nation that they carry it still.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, March 30, 2008

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