Young Soldier

Poem By Only Yours

for the dedicated workers of Civilian Conservation Corps, Co.696.

Near the southern coast of old Pangeia
you’ll find a park called Giant City
where narrow “streets” were carved
through sandstone bluffs
by centuries of H20 and gravity.

As we set out on the trail,
morning sunglow danced between
the maples, ferns and cottonwoods
and warmed the path with pied illumination.

Leaving boot prints on the staircase
laid there slab by slab by
“Poverty Warriors of the C.C.C., ”
our thoughts were drawn to silent homage.

They’d come to Illinois at Roosevelt’s call
with willing arms and empty pockets
and soon the hills and valleys rang
with anthems sung by chisel, hammer and forge.

Transcending loss with fortitude
they left legacies of bridges, roads and lodges –
pleasing to the eye
and sturdy as the hands that formed them.

We paused beside a pressed sand tower
to admire a courageous chestnut oak
with roots bare-knuckled to the sandstone wall
and thought how like those civil soldiers,
that old oak claimed its share of soil
and would not let it go!

October 23, 2008 at Giant City Lodge

Comments about Young Soldier

An eloquent tribute to the civilian soldiers of the Depression era. Dedication to the excellence of labor should always be praised. Wonderful, Robert. Warm regards, Sandra
A beautiful recounting of a proud time in American history. May such efforts be called forth in the times ahead. - Will
Robert, you have such as 'way' with words. Your expression is eloquent, your stories are always interesting and the phrasing of your poetry tells the reader that a musician and wordsmith cohabit within you. The Maroondah aqueduct that provided our family with water in the 1970s was dug by the 'sussos' during the great depression. I often used to imagine what it must have been like for these 'bare-knuckled' men working with nothing but hand tools and marveled at the beauty of the concrete lined perfectly proportioned channel that was the result. Love the comparison with the 'courageous' chestnut oak in the last stanza. love, Allie ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


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