Monday, December 19, 2011

Thank You for Carrying On

Not long ago I received this poem from a dear friend. Because the last military flight out of Iraq left Saturday, today seems as good as any to share it with you and to extend my best wishes to those families who are now reunited with their loved one. As many of you know, our son served in Afghanistan during a very difficult time in our lives, and so I understand well what the families went through during those deployments. We honour our soldiers and celebrate their bravery, as we should. But please take a moment to send a silent thank you to the families who carry on during the worst of times.
Merry Christmas. 

    A Different Christmas Poem

      The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
       I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
       My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
       My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
       Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
       Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

       The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
       Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
       My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
       Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
       In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
       So slumbered I, perhaps I started to dream.

      The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
       But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.

       Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
       Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

       My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
       And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

       Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
       A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

       A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
       Perhaps a Trooper, huddled here in the cold.

      Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
       Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

      "What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
       "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!

       Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
      You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

       For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
       Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.

       To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
      Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
       I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."


       "It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
       That separates you from the darkest of times.

       No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
       I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
       My Gramps died in Europe on a day in December,"
       Then he sighed,
       "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."   
       I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
       But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.

       Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
       The red and the white ... A Canadian flag.
       I can live through the cold and the being alone,
       Away from my family, my house and my home.
       I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
       I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
       I can carry the weight of killing another,
       Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
       Who stand at the front against any and all,
       To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

       "So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
      Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
       "But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
      "Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
      It seems all too little for all that you've done,
      For being away from your wife and your son."
      Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
       "Just tell us you love us, and never forget.

       To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
       To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
       For when we come home, either standing or dead,
       To know you remember we fought and we bled.
       Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
       That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

Merry Christmas everyone!


  1. A Merry Christmas to you, and thanks for sharing the very timely poem.

  2. Thank you, Carole. Merry Christmas.

  3. Wonderful, Joylene! I am so grateful for the sacrifices our service men and women and their families make. Blessings to you and your family!

  4. What a wonderful poem ... and thought-provoking. It's very easy to take our freedom for granted in this country. Unless we have family or close friends serving in the military we may not fully appreciate the sacrifices that are made on our behalf. I'm especially struck by the poem's last line. (Lovely picture of Cory and family, too.)

  5. Thank you, Karen and Carol. It still chokes me up thinking about those families that lost someone. Such an unbearable tragedy. And yes, the last line made me teary too.

  6. Thank you for visiting my blog today, Paul. Your support throughout the year has meant a lot. Merry Christmas!

  7. Wonderful wonderful poem.
    Wish you a big very happy Christmas.

  8. Thank you so much, Anthony. Hope your Christmas an New Year is full of blessings. Thanks for your support this year. It meant a lot.

  9. That was beautiful, Joylene! Thank you for sharing it with us. Merry Christmas to you and yours! :)

  10. Oh, Joylene, you're right. What a perfect time to share that. It's wonderful, so VERY moving.
    Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas. Hugs and love, dear friend!

  11. Thank you for sharing this, Joylene. It is lovely.

  12. A very lovely poem. Prayers go out to all who have loss and wishing you a Merry Christmas with the ones returning home.

  13. @Carol, best to you and your family. Big hugs and lots of wishes for a wonderful Christmas.

    @Thank you, Laura. Merry Christmas!

    @Cher, thanks. Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2012.

  14. @Carrie, thanks! I'm a softy when it comes to anything military. All the men in my family served, and now our youngest is. Makes for a heart-thumping moment at times.

    Have a safe and happy Christmas.

  15. Joylene, thank you for sharing this poem. It's hard not to get choked up while reading it.

    May God watch over all the families that have lost a loved one because of the war.

    Merry Christmas!

  16. You're very welcome, Susanne. Merry Christmas!

  17. Hi Joylene,
    A poignant and powerful poem and I'm thankful that you shared this.
    With much respect to those who have served. And to those who have experienced such difficult times during the deployments, may the efforts realise peace and goodwill.

  18. Beautiful and touching! Thanks for sharing it. Happy holidays, Joylene!

  19. @Merry Christmas, Gary. Thank you for the kind words. Hope your Christmas is very special.

    @Thanks, Nancy. Merry Christmas to you, too. Hope you have a wonderful holiday.

  20. Hi Joylene .. wonderful poem - perhaps not the right word, but one that brings everything to the fore and makes me think ..

    Very evocative .. with thoughts - Hilary


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