SOLDIERS PAST

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My best of friends are soldiers past,
The ones whose hair has grayed with age,
Meshed ‘tween today and memories;
I never quite grew up, for part
Of each remains within my heart
Meshed ‘tween today and memories,
The ones whose hair has grayed with age;
My best of friends are soldiers past.

Eric M. Vogt
from NORTH COUNTRY CALLS,
“The Coldest War”
Copyright 2014

A SOLDIER’S SKIN

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Some things trees don’t grow over.
They grow around.
The bark-sealed wire.
Swift burst of wind.
A cracked-off limb.

Some things a man’s never over.
The grave’s slight mound.
Love’s sharp desire.
A soldier’s skin.
Tall mountain’s climb.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2017

WINTER’S HYMN

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The wind is howling through the trees,
And takes a few down to their knees.
It sounds as if the end of man
Has come, the downfall of our plans.

The gusts bring chill of winter, strong
To those who listen and who long
Its song, the chance to wipe the slate;
Yet it’s not time, nor is it date.

It’s Winter’s hymn; so seal your doors,
Pull out your comforter and store
Your summer clothes within the chest;
The goose goes south; hold to life, blessed.

The fire I’ve stoked, yes, come for tea.
We’ll speak a while of things to be;
Last leaves we’ll rake, then stow mistakes
Beneath each row of logs and make

A covenant this winter’s eve.
Let’s put away all that we grieve
And speak about those mountains climbed,
Yes, all the things we left behind

Us in the spring. Then let us bring
Our wreaths to lay and psalms to sing.
We’ll lay aside our soldier’s woes,
And with a whiskey warm our toes.

The winter can be warmed, you see.
Even the evergreens grow free.
We’ll bury brothers that we mourn,
And we’ll—together—ride the storm.

Soon spring shall come, the break of morn,
And we will live bit less forlorn.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

ODE TO LANCE CORPORAL

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(And 240 others who died, October 23, 1983)

It’s funny how the dead peer through
Each blast of cold of all we knew
To make our memories more true
In curtained clarity.

He joined, as I did, hoisted gun,
We youths at best, our lives begun,
And thought it all might just be fun
In full sincerity.

Our uniforms were soiled as green,
And wills and wants were just as keen,
Our training made our muscles lean,
Yet one day leaner, he.

He died in first sound of a war
That has killed thousands by the score,
Yet his Two Hundred, lost of lore,
Lost to eternity.

I stood above his grave that year,
First saw his flag and then drew near;
Salute and sob he could not hear,
As silent as could be.

He sleeps within his barracks still,
And won’t awake, yet over hill
I see his colors, flying till
He stands eternally.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

STRENGTH

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Strength is beauty, as beauty, strength,
Both live in heart to very length,
To breadth and width, and shall remain
Till our tried members feel no pain,
And strength wanes through both wars and will,
Unhappy times, to last until
The best run over that last hill,
When dawn breaks full, ablaze.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

REMEMBER

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Remember those who gave their lives
On that September morn,
Remember loved ones who have cried,
With honor all adorn.
Remember when the Towers fell,
And those in uniform,
And to your children ever tell
Their story, and then warn;
Lest we should ever lose our guard,
Forget all that they gave,
And learn again the lesson hard
For memories unsaved.
Remember that our freedom makes
Our nation enemies,
Defend it for our childrens’ sakes,
For freedom is not free.

Eric M. Vogt
September 11, 2016

FRIENDS AND BROTHERS

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The world was close to Total War,
And freedom lost for forty years
In East. It was a time of fears
Of missiles’ drop and dead in scores,
Approach of Orwell’s ’84.

We could have walked the college halls,
Yet, loving liberty and land,
We took our place, we raised our hand
Against the Gulags and the Wall
Which irked our ire, we faithful band

Of brothers. We loved each other.
Each was a boy; each was a man.
And only we can understand
That Age, those tales we try to cover,
Prepared to take the Final Stand

As only friends and brothers can.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2017