in memoriam Woodrow (Woody) Rifenburgh
The soft purr of a Piper Cub
drifted over Italy's southern hills.
Soul stirred by the landscape’s song,
the young army pilot gently spoke.
“It’s mighty peaceful up here.”
Touching wheels to the tarmac,
Woody shed his flight suit
for an engineer’s desk
and placed a viola beneath his chin.
For three score years
Woody molded horsehair and wire into string song
steadying the orchestra’s midriff
with the vibrations of his spirit.
On Christmas Eve he played for the coming child,
fell stricken and flew his last flight
on instruments at Memorial.
Early New Year’s morn one could almost hear
the faint soft purr of a Piper Cub
as it banked to the right around the moon
and merged with the waiting heavens.