John F. McCullagh

Silver Star - 3,540 Points (09/28/1954 / Flushing)

The Poppy Seller - Poem by John F. McCullagh

The poppy seller stands near the Rotunda.
He vends his paper flowers as before.
He wears a small red poppy in Remembrance
of heroes fallen in our nation’s wars.

The people pass as if he’s’ non existent,
more interested to buy well watered beer.
The Veteran feels the sting of their indifference-
Upon his grizzled cheek I spy a tear.

I cannot, will not also pass in silence
I stop and donate something at his stall
He stammers thanks, but he needn’t thank me-
more fitting that I thank those who gave all.

They who owed us nothing gave us everything.
We, their debtors, balk to pay our share.
And still the poppy flourishes in Burgundy,
past living memory, as a wordless prayer..

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, October 25, 2009

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