Grief It was not the memory
Of all those years he toiled
In the fiery mills, feet numbed
By the winter walks to work,
Or that wall of silence that stood
Between us, or the stumbling words
Spoken over the dark pit.
It was the six old men who served
With him in the War to End All Wars,
Each past eighty, staggering under
That shrunken frame carried
To a hole in the ground.
It was their faces, pale and lined,
Their twisted limbs, their new
VFW hats perched on those old heads,
The palsied hands passing
The folded flag to the silent widow.
And the puzzled look in their eyes,
As if wondering how all this
Had happened, where the time
Had gone, and who would be left
To carry them.