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Old Soldiers

Bob Quigley Avatar  Send Soup Mail  Block poet from commenting on your poetry

Below is the poem entitled Old Soldiers which was written by poet Bob Quigley. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Old Soldiers

He sits in a wheelchair pushed to the curb.  The people around him move aside to assure he is able to see.  His shrunken body  a shell of what it used to be.  His breathing labored, aided by the tube that extends from the oxygen tank attached to his chair.  On his head, he sports a blue campaign cap with VFW stitched in gold.  He is one of America's finest, come to pay his respects.

Behind him stands a younger woman who has guided him there.  A daughter perhaps, fussing over him, adjusting the robe in his lap, assuring his comfort.  He shows no resistance to the attention, but simply sits and waits.
  
In the distance drums are heard, soon to be joined by the sound of horns.  A stirring march riffles over the crowd, and an electricity grips their senses.  Soon the call of cadence is heard. The measured tramp of boots, perfectly in time with the music. It grows louder until at last, a military formation looms into view.  Uniformed soldiers, marching in perfect rows, perfect columns, gleaming boots, ribboned chests, weapons at rest on their shoulders.  The crowd stirs.  Small flags are waved.  Cheers erupt.  Pride hangs thick in the air.

The color guard approaches.  Banners held high, snapping in the breeze.  Some spectators remove their caps while others cover their hearts.  Children, hoisted to their fathers shoulders, clap in excitement.

The old man tugs at the woman's sleeve and motions for her to come closer.  She leans down and listens as he speaks, then asks "are you sure"?.  He nods his head.  Walking to the front of the chair, she removes the robe and, grasping his outstretched hands, pulls him slowly to his feet, where he stands with her assistance.  Those around him watch as the frail, stooped body, with some difficulty, stands more erect.  They see the pain etched on his face, and the tear that escapes his eye as he offers a salute as the flag passes by.

Suddenly, the cadence count stops, and in it's place is heard a command .  A command  normally reserved for when passing a reviewing stand.  "Company, eyes right" the guidon bearer bellows, and with that, he returns the aging veterans salute, a sign of respect for an old soldier.  After all, it is his flag.  It is his country.  He bought them both many years ago.


Bob Quigley
Jan 10, 2012

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  1. Date: 2/8/2012 8:12:00 AM
    Congratulations on your win with a great narrative,Bob!

    Quigley Avatar Bob Quigley
    Date: 2/8/2012 10:17:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Appreciate it Fabiyas
  1. Date: 2/7/2012 7:26:00 PM
    This was such a beautiful story, Bob. It brought tears to my eyes. Congrats on your win! Love, Kim

    Quigley Avatar Bob Quigley
    Date: 2/7/2012 10:46:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thank you Kim. I'm glad you liked it.
  1. Date: 2/7/2012 2:32:00 PM
    Well penned,Bob.Congratulations on your win....

    Quigley Avatar Bob Quigley
    Date: 2/7/2012 2:57:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thank you Olusegun
  1. Date: 2/7/2012 1:45:00 PM
    Bob - I usually don't like poem that don't have a clear rhyme scheme in them but I have to make an exception with this great piece you wrote. Mike

    Quigley Avatar Bob Quigley
    Date: 2/7/2012 1:58:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thanks Mike. Narratives are not everyone's idea of poetry so I will take that as a compliment.
  1. Date: 2/7/2012 1:43:00 PM
    congrats Bob on a remarkable win for this tremendous poetry luv.. fascinating lines penned..

  1. Date: 2/7/2012 12:11:00 PM
    Bob, this is a splendid tribute of a narrative. Very powerful and moving. I am a young(ish) man who for some reason find myself coming across old soldiers along the journey of life. I am not sure why, but there is a reason for everything. Congratulations on your win in Debbie's contest!

    Quigley Avatar Bob Quigley
    Date: 2/7/2012 1:22:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thank you for your comments Chris. Much appreciated
  1. Date: 2/7/2012 12:07:00 PM
    Congratulations to you on your placement in Debbie Guzzi's "Your Own Favorite Poem" contest Bob. Love, Carol

    Quigley Avatar Bob Quigley
    Date: 2/7/2012 1:22:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thank you Carol for stopping by
  1. Date: 2/7/2012 10:25:00 AM
    Congrats, Bob. What an outstanding story. Great job, my friend. Beautifully told. Kudos. Best to you and yours. Ralph

    Quigley Avatar Bob Quigley
    Date: 2/7/2012 11:04:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thank you Ralph
  1. Date: 1/12/2012 11:47:00 PM
    This was a great description of such an event where the veterans are honored. Did you serve, Bob? Very nice narrative.

    Quigley Avatar Bob Quigley
    Date: 1/14/2012 12:20:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thank you Andrea. I'm glad you liked it. Yes, I did. I was in the Air Force
  1. Date: 1/12/2012 9:38:00 PM
    A vivid description of an event that takes place each Memorial Day or Veterans Day. Excellent write.

    Quigley Avatar Bob Quigley
    Date: 1/12/2012 10:53:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Again, thanks
  1. Date: 1/12/2012 2:31:00 PM
    see the picture in me mind, grateful for this buggers kind, without him the old vet, to this man we owe a debt, freedom for mankind....

    Quigley Avatar Bob Quigley
    Date: 1/12/2012 2:52:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    right on mate
  1. Date: 1/11/2012 5:27:00 AM
    You've got this just right, loved it.

    Quigley Avatar Bob Quigley
    Date: 1/11/2012 7:57:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thanks Nick. Unfortunately, their ranks are thinning.
  1. Date: 1/10/2012 11:23:00 AM
    I enjoyed reading your amazing poetry this afternoon Bob. I hope to be able to read a lot more of your writing in this new year of 2012. Love, Carol

    Quigley Avatar Bob Quigley
    Date: 1/10/2012 2:14:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thank you Carol
  1. Date: 1/10/2012 8:50:00 AM
    such attention to poetic details and a glorious sense of story-telling, bob.. fantastic piece on a man of honor..:) huggs!

    Quigley Avatar Bob Quigley
    Date: 1/10/2012 9:57:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thank you Nette