Friday, September 5, 2014

Poem: Taps for my Soldier

Douglas "Doc" Kempf

In Loving Memory

Douglas Scott “Doc” Kempf
KIA Vietnam
September 5, 1969

Sp4 US Army
Combat Medic
199th LIB D4/12

7/12/1947 - 9/5/1969

Taps for my Soldier

by CJ (Kempf) Heck

A gentle breeze chatters the leaves
as birds sing their greetings.

The sun shines 
on a day like any other,
and yet like none before.

Two mirrored rows of uniforms
line up like blue dominoes,
white gloves holding rifles at the ready.

A lone bugle cries. 
Twenty-four notes.
Each note, slow as a tear,
blankets ears and heavy hearts.

In the silence between,
even nature holds its breath.

Gone is the breeze.
Gone are the bird songs.
Gone is her hold on composure,
all lost in the bugle's lament.

Solemnly a soldier approaches.
White gloves present a tri-fold flag,

and in one final mournful note,
legions of silent voices unite
to call a comrade home
and a young wife weeps.

[From the book, "Anatomy of a Poet", by CJ Heck]


Read More Poetry from the Book

"Taps for My Soldier" was included by an invitation from Master Sgt. and bugler, Jari Villanueva, for The Taps Exhibit, “The Taps Project”, Arlington National Cemetery, May 29, 1999.

"Taps for My Soldier" was included in the book, "The Other Side of Sorrow", by Cicely Buckley, Edited by Patricia Frisella (Poetry Society of New Hampshire, 2006).

“A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write.” ~CJ Heck


Anonymous said...

Some "anniversaries" are joyous and others are completely the opposite. I am sure that over the years the one's that are NEVER forgotten are those that affected one's life the most - Unfortunately they tend to be the one's that brought hardship & sorrow. The loss of a LOVED one is NEVER FORGOTTEN. May Doug forever rest in peace and be remembered in your memories FOREVER CJ......

CJ Heck said...

Thank you for your kind words, Anonymous.

A good friend sent me something this morning and I would like to share it here. It's powerful and deeply moving:

by Archibald Macleish

They say: our deaths are not ours.
They are yours.
They will mean what you make them.

They say: whether our lives
and our deaths were for peace
and a new hope, or nothing,
we cannot say.
It is you who must say this.

They say: we leave you our deaths.
Give them their meaning.
We were young.

They say: we have died

Anonymous said...

Wow! To say there are tears is an understatement...I had to mop up before I could even type many lost their lives at such a young age...the lost potential saddens me beyond words!
--Thea Chambers

Anonymous said...

45 years ago, he gave his life. His death left a huge hole in our hearts, in our lives, in our family. We struggled to understand, to fill that hole and discover that nothing really can. We're left with memories...wonderful memories. We all miss that smile, that devilishness, that heart, that kindness. Our Doug, our cousin. Yes, gone but truly never forgotten. Thank you CJ Heck for honoring him and keeping him alive in our hearts. Doug smiles down on us all today.--Beth Noe June

CJ Heck said...

Men like Doug are a special breed - The Combat Medic always puts others FIRST! Bless You Doug.....and Thanks! --Tom Chase

Anonymous said...

Thanks for always being there Doc. God Speed from a fellow Vet.--Michael Lansford

Anonymous said...

So simple yet eloquent and touching.--Bob Bowers

Anonymous said...

I felt that poem CJ, Every word. Bless you Lady. --Dave Ramsey

Anonymous said...

Very moving poem. Thanks, CJ.--Tom Allemeier said...

My soldier son made it back. But every time I hear Taps I am struck breathless. And reading your poem brought back that feeling of utter awe and reverence. Thank you.