Out of time and out of place,
The photograph of a soldier’s face
Hangs like an effigy in the hall
Amid faded flowers that paper the wall.
Long ago, before he became
An image behind a walnut frame,
He was flesh and bone, blood and fire,
Her one true love, her heart’s desire.
For such a little space in time
They shared a happiness sweet, sublime
A fledgling splendor, learning to fly
‘Til its wings clipped the rigid edge of goodbye.
As he hugged her fiercely to his breast
Her cheek pressed the medals on his chest.
Wait for me, darling. Her reply:
I’ll love you ‘til the day I die.
He blew a kiss, then closed the gate.
Women will tarry, but war won’t wait.
Still, in her dreams, she hears his plea
My heart, my beloved, wait for me.
Always, she gives the same reply
I’ll love you ‘till the day I die,
Then wakes to remember her broken vow,
So eager then, so empty now.
A stirring inside, wind through lament.
Disturbing leaves of discontent.
She remembers a beach called Normandy
Where her dauntless lover’s bravery
Dyed to purple his valentine heart,
And ripped his strong young body apart.
His bones were splintered, his flesh was torn
His blood ran free on that D Day morn.
He fell to the ground with an agonized shout;
Fire burned to ashes, the flame went out.
We regret to inform you, the telegram said.
Her lover, her husband, her sweetheart was dead.
She wanted to hold to his memory
Until somewhere in eternity
She could declare with a woman’s pride,
I loved you ‘til the day I died.
But other arms would reach and hold
In the heat of passion old love grows cold.
For fifty years that vacant face,
Has silently hung in the same old place.
The painful price of restitution,
It never quite buys absolution.
A photograph hangs in the hall
Dead as the flowers that paper the wall.
Photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/25022128@N03/9959074393/">Kiama.Library</a> / <a href="http://foter.com/">Foter</a> / <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">CC BY-NC</a>