One moment there, the next he was gone
His shell now empty, his spirit free to carry on.
His family not mourning and I wondered why
The eldest of them had just passed from this life.
Then a presence I felt, one I’ve met before
Death incarnate had come to escort him through the door.
And for just a moment he stood beside me and grinned
a spirit, a wraith, the young man who had been
He doffed his helmet and set down his gun
and said to me quietly, “They smile, because they know my fight is done.
“We stormed the beaches and every one of us died
We unleashed hell on this earth and it consumed all our lives.
“Some carried on as we knew no other way
Death simply couldn’t collect us all on that terrible day.
“We were too many, and we were too strong.
Dead but still here, none knew for how long.
“Life goes on and thus, so did we
We built nations and families and protected the weak
“Each day was a gift that we struggled to treasure
as we never left that beach by any rational measure
“Live all like our last, and nothing to dread
each moment’s a lifetime, when you’re already dead
“The price we had paid would one day come due
so we lived full and lived hard as good men should do
“But we could never forget the end of our life
and lived it over and over in the depths of the night
“The guns and the smoke and the sound of the dead
rob the sleep from the strongest, alone in our beds
“But now I can rest, my part here is done
good men will make sure the world will carry on
“So live hard and live well” he said with a smile,
“And be sure you are ready when you’ve traveled your last mile.”
As he faded from view I wiped a tear from my eye
There was no death here, just a wonderful life.
June 6, 2012