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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)

TITLE: The Visit
By Beth LaBuff


He shuffled down the dusty lane,
Old age had stooped his head.
He yearned for days once filled with life
And friends who now were dead.

This frequent journey drew his heart
Across the fading prairie
Past the time-worn country church
To Sunset Cemetery.

Inside the gate with rusted hinge
He trod this path alone.
Into the field where broken hearts
Are marked with granite stone.

Three rows west, then to the north,
By love’s magnetic power,
Steps halted as they reach the soil
That clutched a withered flower.

A finger traced his Dearest’s name,
“Rebecca, wife of Joe.”
Tears held within could not be staunched
And started streams to flow.

‘Twas sixty some odd years ago
He still could hear her voice,
“I promise to love and obey.”
She gladly made her choice.

Years of her birth and of her death,
Were dates inscribed within.
And added to the epitaph
Was “Till We Meet Again.”

‘Twas at these words his head perked up.
A smile graced his chin.
And he was glad he came that day
Just to remember when.

On he strolled in retrospect,
Then paused at an old grave.
He still could hear, within his mind,
The voice of Pastor Dave.

‘Twas Pastor Dave who visited
When little Grace was ill.
He prayed with them all through the night
And stayed till she was well.

A smile broke when he recalled
How Pastor Dave was teased
When his false teeth flew from his mouth,
While preaching … when he sneezed.

His eye, then captured by a flag
That billowed with the breeze,
He moved ahead to reminisce
‘Bout boats that sailed the seas.

‘Twas in the Navy, World War II,
He served with Frank McComb.
A poppy lay next to the flag,
Frank never made it home.

Like prophets, who still speak though dead,
These saints, their voices rose
As he continued to recall
His friends in their repose.

His heart had shed its shroud of grief.
With tears, his spirit cleansed,
For hope was resurrected when
Encouraged by his friends.

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This article has been read 1191 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beverly Caviness11/15/07
Wow! It made me cry, it made me laugh. I could just see this elderly man walking through the cemetery and feel his thoughts and the comfort he received as he remembered. Good Job.
Chrissi Dunn11/16/07
Well written and very moving. I liked how you set the scene, and gave us insight into the lives of those who had died.
william price11/16/07
It's been awhile since I added a poem to my favorites, but this one spoke to me and moved me, besides being very well accomplished. God bless.
Joanne Sher 11/17/07
This truly touched my heart - and definitely a unique take on the topic. (I think I may know who wrote this - maybe) Wonderful, wonderful images. You are gifted at this.
Jan Ackerson 11/18/07
How absolutely touching and full of grace! Beautiful poetically, too.
Deborah Engle 11/18/07
How well this flowed and how captivating the story. Very unique perspective, too!
Janice Cartwright11/19/07
As one who loves contrasts and paradoxes in writing, I thought your idea of using a cemetary scene as a place of encouragement a really creative approach. I loved the progression through the headstones, each calling forth a special memory and encouragement.
Patty Wysong11/19/07
What a unique take on the topic! I loved this. Great job!! Hugs!
Karen Wilber11/19/07
This makes me rethink cemetaries as a place of encouragement. Creative and a touching poem - just beautiful!
Ruth Neilson11/19/07
I like cemeteries...they are peaceful in some way. I love the fact that the MC is gathering encouragement from those that have gone ahead--and from the fact that he is going to see his friends again.
Dee Yoder 11/20/07
Well written and unique! I like the images presented in your poem.
Sharlyn Guthrie11/20/07
Your poem flows well, both structurally and in thought...just like the walk through the cemetery. What a creative take on the topic.
Sarah Engle01/11/08
As my husband and I like to say when we're caught by tears, "I got Tender." Beth, what a beautiful picture of encouragement. It's a good reminder that we can look back at those we've loved and lost and our heart can be cheered. I may have been prepped by your previous entry "Through the Ages," but I this time, it wasn't just a welling up of tears...there was a spilling or two. Thank you.
Helen Dowd04/25/08
Beth, this was a wonderful poem. I was with the man as he walked through the cemetary. It took me back to when I walked, years after my mother went to glory, in a cemetary, once familiar, but forgotten and changed....How memories speak to a person! It is like reliving, with such sad-happy thoughts. I loved your poem. .... And thanks for your comments on my Uncle Bill challenge piece....Yes, other members of the family have often talked about Uncle Bill, but no one knew him like we did....Helen
LauraLee Shaw09/08/08
Wow, what an incredible piece! And from one who knows a whole lot about encouraging friends!!!! ;)