A Soldier's Spirit
Walking through the streets of the city
I shake my head, there is so much pain, so many homeless, what a pity.
I see him there in the glow of the fullness of
He is a soldier laying there in despair.
His life hanging on by a thread.
He smells of whiskey as I approach.
His uniform fatigues are faded and torn.
He has been to Vietnam.
I smile as I see his Bronze Star shinning
brightly in the moonlight.
It is pinned among some other medals, a
Purple Heart among them.
He was a real hero, someone who gave of
himself to save others.
But what has happen to him now?
This many Laying here was a brave man
who fought for his country, only to be an
outcast, laying here in this alley in the
pouring rain, cold, wet, and probably hungry.
As the fog rolls in I approach him, my shoes
damp as I look down to his foot that was
covered with a dull green wool sock full
The other pant leg was cut off above the knee
and wrapped around his stump.
He was shaking, his jacket pulled up around
His hat pulled down to cover his fading blue eyes.
I held my unbrella over him, listening to his lumbering breath and noticing one empty sleeve rolled and pinned to his shoulder.
He peered up at me with empty eyes that rolled back as he fell over dropping his bottle of whiskey that rolled directly to my feet.
As he took his last breath he said, "God Bless America!"
Then he smiled and was gone.
Kneeling over him I saw in his hand a picture of a beautiful young woman.
My tears flow down as I shout: "What have we done to our hero's?" "To those who fought to keep us free?" "What have we done?" "How could we let this happen?"
My words choke in my throat.
When I look up through my tears as they flow endlessly down my cheeks, a crowd of homeless people have gathered.
Each one holds a candle or a lighter with
flames glowing to light the way for this soldier to find his way home.
I take a candle, someone lights it, while a young woman sings softly and the soldier's spirit floats away into the light.
Then I whisper softly.
"God Bless our Soldiers!"
2009 Susan Elaine Graves