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May 24, 2013

(click: hear the voice behind the words)

 As Memorial Day approaches, a poem in tribute to those who serve. 

 On his lapel, stood pins of distinction.   

Signaling fame, however ephemeral

cast in the communality of the iron of endurance

bred by those who walked before him.


He did not know them.

In fact, many have long since been forgotten.

As will he, when his pins are left discarded

in a tiny felt lined box

in the attics of memory

where the nuisances of unimportance

are moved with a shambling gate

from one corner to another.


Then one day, the curiosity of youth stumbled upon the box –

Blew the dust into the air, opened the lid

and aired the memories of forgotten ideals

cast aside by the arrogant certainty of purpose,

so much a part of the youth’s father.


The grandson’s eyes lit up with undoubting gleam –

the brilliance of hope – of endurance beyond adversity.

He grasped the pins and wore them to school the next day –

and into the school yard.

From thence, he set his course as if for mankind

to achieve some deed beyond his means.

As he grew, he treasured those ideals and pins.

Walked steadfast in his grandfather’s footsteps with pride.


For humanity he eventually touched this terrestrial sphere ever so


When he breathed his last sigh, they placed the pins on his lapel

and put a folded flag at his fingertips.

Before they closed the lid, his son removed the pins –

and they gave him the flag.


And – as was the custom – with complacent smugness and disdain -

the pins were thereafter sold at the next garage sale.

Ray Brown

This poem is  included in my book,

“I Have His Letters Still”, Poetry of Everyday Life. 

Purchase on Amazon - or purchase an autographed copy at http://poet-ray-brown.comThank you


10 Comments leave one →
  1. Glen Carlin permalink
    February 17, 2009 4:35 am

    Strong and to the point.
    I have a box in my desk with 90 year old PINS
    A Value not to be found in a garage sale.
    thanks again
    Glen Carlin

  2. Ray Brown permalink*
    February 17, 2009 4:47 am

    I want to thank you for reading and being appreciative. I reflected as I wrote this about how so often a son is so skeptical about his father – so certain that a father’s words or works are so old fashioned or out of place – not enligthened. At a recent reading, someone commented: “one of life’s ironies”. Ray

  3. Edie Angelo permalink
    March 9, 2009 4:04 pm

    Pins made me cry….I have none of my father’s pins but I have his brass Navy pocket watch…and I have his poems….I know there were pins, and there were many, many ribbons from beagling field trials…I wonder where they are….and trophies….where are they?…..I wonder
    where my poems and paintings will be, when I am gone……

  4. March 13, 2009 12:54 pm

    This is lovely, touching and full of imagery. It truly is very good. It kept me anticpating, waiting for what was next. Really, very good.

    Miss D

  5. Ray Brown permalink*
    March 15, 2009 3:12 am

    One of the sad incidents of life.

  6. Ray Brown permalink*
    March 15, 2009 3:18 am

    Miss Demure Restraint,
    Thank you for reading and your beautiful comment.

  7. November 20, 2010 12:33 pm

    howdy Poetry by Ray Brown , i look your blog , this a nice blog and perfect. Best for everyone. best review for How to Eat a Cannoli and Pins content. i going to visit to read and comment your website.

  8. November 21, 2010 1:47 am

    helo Poetry by Ray Brown , i comment your blog , that a nice blog and perfect. Best for everyone. best review for Walking ATM and poets content. i will often to read and review your site.

  9. S. Thomas Summers permalink
    November 6, 2011 5:05 pm

    A fine tribute.

  10. Ray Brown permalink*
    November 6, 2011 5:09 pm

    Thank you Scott. Looking forward to your book.

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