But To Do And Die

Till my trophies at last I lay down
was always the hardest line to sing in
The Old Rugged Cross. If you only had
one trophy to your name and especially
if it was a smaller, humbler statue for
a non-athletic type accomplishment it
just seemed like a good Lord who had the
whole world in his hands anyway’d say
Keep it – you shook before that panel and
recited The Charge of the Light Brigade
as the sweat bled down your back and
you thought you might puke. I was there
in that east Texas schoolroom cheering,
not meddling in the minds of the judges but
trusting they saw what I saw, heard what
I heard, and would honor the wild charge
you made that day into the valley of Death.

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  1. Cherry Odelberg on February 3, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    The best things about your poems is; they understand.

  2. Michele Morin on February 3, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    You may just have rescued that hymn for me.

  3. pastordt on February 4, 2015 at 6:21 am

    Watching one of my daughters hovering at the edge of the swimming pool at the age of 4, absolutely terrified to jump in and yet. . . doing it anyhow . . . well, it was one of the bravest things I’ve ever witnessed in my life. I still call that picture to mind when the nerve nellies bite me. To push through that terror and do it — that’s somethin’. Thanks for this, John.

  4. Alan on February 4, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Absolutely amazing. Even Father Abraham is swallowing back a tear reading this and thinking back

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