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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: Comfort And Joy From A Dear Soldier Boy
By Mariane Holbrook


She wiped off Albert’s picture with the dust cloth in her hand
And clutched it to her thin and aging breast.
“Dear Lord, be with my soldier boy where’ere he is today,
Protect him, Lord, and give him needed rest.”

The blue stars in her window were reminders to the world
That three of her brave sons had gone to war.
“Twas nineteen forty-two and as she touched each service flag,
She prayed the Army wouldn’t ask for more.

The day that Albert said goodbye, she held him close and said,
“Remember, son, that God is on your side.”
She kissed his cheek and prayed with him, then gave him one last look;
Though broken-hearted, she was filled with pride.

It wasn’t long before her other sons were drafted, too.
And each goodbye was harder than before.
In spite of all the rigors and demands the Army made,
They learned the meaning of “Esprit De Corps.”

Their mother woke one morning to a sharp knock on the door.
“I have sad news for you,” a captain said.
“Your oldest son was killed this week while rescuing a friend
Whose injured body had been left for dead.”

Al’s mother in confusion wandered to a local store;
Disoriented, she had lost her way.
They found her all alone inside an unlocked storage room;
Beside some manikins, she knelt to pray.

One day the war was over and her younger sons came home.
Though tired and weary, they were both okay.
Their mother still had times when life seemed far too much for her;
At times, it seemed, her mind would slip away.

But then one day a letter came which wiped away her tears.
The scrawl was indecipherable throughout.
But with the help of others who had language expertise,
She had it figured out, there was no doubt.

“Dear Albert’s Mother, you have likely never heard of me,
But I served in the war with your brave son.
I am a Filipino and I made a lot of friends
But I considered Albert Number One.

“We shared a muddy foxhole; he was sergeant in command
And sometimes we would talk about the Lord.
He told me he had never asked forgiveness for his sins;
His inner life had largely been ignored.

“One night when things were quiet and the troops tried hard to sleep,
Al asked me how to pray the sinner’s prayer.
There in the foxhole Al accepted Jesus as his Lord;
How very much I wish that you’d been there.

“The next day’s battle was the worst that we had ever seen.
The bodies of our men lay all around.
My left leg shattered as the bullets hit me with such force,
I screamed then felt my body touch the ground.

“The moon was bright as Germans walked among our soldiers there
With bayonets to make sure we were dead.
Expecting any moment that I’d feel the bloody sword,
I felt the arms of your son, Al, instead.

“He’d seen me from a distance and began a long, slow crawl
To where my wounded, bleeding body fell.
He dragged me to the safety of our foxhole, crouching low,
When he was hit by an exploding shell.

“He draped his injured body over mine to hide me there.
I felt his labored breathing on my chest.
Soon it was over, Albert died, they carried him away.
A few days later, he was laid to rest.

“Enclosed you’ll find a letter that he never got to mail;
Still in his pocket, ‘twas addressed to you.
I wanted you to have it for the comfort it will bring,
Just thinking of the heartache you’ve been through.

“That Al would risk and lose his very life for one like me
Is something that I cannot comprehend.
No greater love is there than this, (the Bible tells us so,)
Than laying down your life for a dear friend.”

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This article has been read 571 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sarah Heywood10/28/10
I enjoyed this very much. You did such a good job with your story-telling poem! Excellent!
Helen Dowd10/28/10
This brought tears to my eyes. It is such a touching story, told in the most enjoyable form -- poetry. Your rhyme and rhythm are always so good. One cannot help but be carried away with the story. I never knew personally any soldiers killed in WWII, but I have heard of several stories. This one was the best. Whether fact or fiction, it certainly was factual. What a grand testimony to the mother who lost her son. So very well told. I loved it to the end...Thanks for sharing your talent...Blessings...Helen
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/31/10
This is so beautiful I had to wipe a tear away before I could comment. As Veteran's Day (and everyday) comes closer stories like this should remind us to pray for all those who serve their country. I am grateful for their sacrifice as well as the sacrifice of their families.
T. F. Chezum10/31/10
I've always had a deep appreciation for those who serve in the military. This is a beautiful piece - thank you for sharing it.
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/31/10
Such a heartwarming story is your beautiful poem. No greater joy could a mother have than to know she'd see her dead son in heaven someday. This really touched my heart.
I so appreciate the sacrifices of our armed forces, as well as the ones who wait at home for them to return.
Barbara Lynn Culler11/01/10
This was so beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. No wonder the mother "lost it" believing her son was not saved.
This should be a winner.
Rachel Phelps11/01/10
Simply lovely. You created an era for me in poetry - which is tough to accomplish with a history nut like me. Well done!
Beth LaBuff 11/01/10
Wow, knowing this is a true story makes is all the more poignant. What a time in history! Those who lived then were forever changed. Excellent meter, rhyme, and story!
Carol Penhorwood 11/02/10
Simply beautiful writing all 'round. There is no letter that you could bring greater comfort than knowing your loved one would be with the Lord. Very moving.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/10
Congratulations in placing 25th overall.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/10
oops sorry 27th overall, but you still did a great job!