All Souls Day – Jules Bastien-Lepage -1882
Old Gramp blusters through the door,
Trailing sunshine and morning air.
“Come, sprouts! The day awaits!”
Eager, I bounce down off my chair.
Brown hands reach out, hard and soft
A chain of years go marching out-
Hair and collars meet the breeze
Footsteps staccato, strong and stout.
The hedgerows pass and nod our way.
Sparrows startle, flock, and chatter.
Not long, I flag and slow my stride.
Gramp turns, “Child, what’s the matter?”
“I need to rest!”, I whine and plop.
I land down on a sitting rock.
He stops and winks and hunkers down,
Settles for a morning talk.
He talks of times, when on the march,
He watched young families wave and smile,
Raise the flag, and urge him on
Each dusty mile after dusty mile.
Then, they were gone and others faced him,
Far across a field of gold.
That was when he knew for sure
This was a venture long and cold.
He carried on as soldier should, resigned
To do what must be done,
Took care to keep his comrades safe,
‘Til bitter victory could be won.
“You know, he says with serious tone,
My time is precious here and now.
I’ll have the time when I’m laid out
To rest with laurels on my brow.”
“I must keep on and move each day,
And so should you, my little one.
Grab all that you can hold and see
For life is short and is soon done.”
“All rested? Good ! Now, let’s keep on.
This golden day just seems to fly.
There’s coffee in the square for me
And cookies on the plate nearby.”
Perhaps some milk and chocolate too
I think, as we hop up and go.
His words stay with me as we stroll -
What did he mean? Where did he go?
I crane about and look at him.
His eyes look upward, far away
Then, he looks down and smiles at me
And we march off and through the day.
UGH! To punctuate or not! Comma, commas, commas!
Stories as poems are a challenge … to rhyme or not to rhyme, how to handle dialogue, mixing imagery with story line without letting things get confused, so much to learn! This attempt is shared with other writers at Poetry Jam, a weekly writing share. Click over and see what others have contributed!