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A Trilogy of Poems for Memorial Day

May 25, 2016


A trilogy of Poems for Memorial Day


NOTE:  In this “Trilogy of Poems for Memorial Day,” I will share with you one new, short poem; then, you will also find a longer poem (my favorite) which I posted on May 21, 2014.  The third poem, containing only seven lines, was first posted on Wordwalk in May of 2013.


A recollection from my younger days, when we went to three cemeteries to “decorate” the graves of loved ones on Memorial Day, inspired the first poem of this trilogy.  I clearly recall that after planting geraniums or placing fresh-cut flowers at the grave of my maternal grandfather, my mother or my Aunt Zita often placed extra flowers at the lonesome grave of a veteran whose resting place was located next to my grandfather’s grave and was decorated only with a small American flag.  On one of those hot, humid late May days in west-central Indiana, I heard my mother say, “No one ever puts flowers on this veteran’s grave.”  She did.



Pause at the Flag


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



On Memorial Day,

walking toward a family member’s resting place,

have you passed by a soldier’s grave?

Of course, you know by the small flag that is there:

we all are aware

that a hero is at eternal rest.


Please stop just a minute

to place an extra flower,

to say an extra prayer,

to whisper a word of thanks

for that one, who in full service to country

gave you the freedom

to walk by

in peace.



The Mourning Dove on Memorial Day


Dedicated to my dad, James F. Massa (1913-1997)


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



On Memorial Day,

some see the eagle swiftly ribbon through the sky;

but I hear the mourning dove

and his comforting coo.

He sings softly on this sad day,

as I remember and honor you.


That special, melodious mourning dove

peers at the hearts broken with love.

He picks up the pieces to build his nest;

then, he sings for all who lie in rest.


What is done for those who walk on the dew-misted grass

to the tombstones

on which are carved letters of names

of those who served, as well as loved?

Are those teardrops or raindrops

on the Indiana limestone?

Do the angels

shed tears of rain

on Memorial Day,

or do they flutter wings of flowers

over the lands

so that hands can carry the flowers to the graves?


Umbrellas are at attention.

At even a mention of your name in my heart,

I hear, I hear the beats.

Is that sound the beating of a broken heart,

or do I hear the beating of angel’s wings?


Did the angels or the mourning dove come to whisper?

Put away the umbrellas,

the handkerchiefs, the tears.

Bring bright carnations and lilacs and love.

Each flag and flower gives a blessed wave

to your veteran, cherished and honored at this grave.

Forget the parting and painful days:

remember the gift of good memories,

and treasure these tender moments please

On this Memorial Day and always.



NOTE:  The following very short poem appeared in the spring/summer 2013 issue of the online (free) publication Magnets and Ladders.  You may read this archived issue or the current issue of Magnets and Ladders  at:


Monogrammed Prayers on Memorial Day


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



I am a visitor at the graves—

Ave Marias on Memorial Day.

Taps and tulips are there;

peonies and patriotism are there.

Where do I place

the monogrammed prayers?



God bless all whom we remember with love and gratitude on this Memorial Day!



May 25, 2016, Wednesday



From → Uncategorized

  1. Thank you for the moving Memorial Day poems, Alice. Your keen awareness and precise recall of the occasion in the cemetery so many years ago is remarkable and helps me to once again realize our dear mother’s quiet devotion and respect for people.

    The mourning doves are back in our neighborhood enjoying their perch high on our rooftop. Their coos are such a peaceful sound.

    Peace to you this holiday weekend.
    Love, Mary

    • Mary–Thanks for the comment. As of now, I have not yet heard a mourning dove in my area this spring; but I am glad that the mourning doves are midst all the wildlife around your house.

      Talk to you later–Alice

  2. Alice. Your words of thanks are dancing along a May wind. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for your poetic praise. dp

    • Deon–Thanks for being such a regular reader of my blog. Is the semester over now for you?

      Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend–Alice

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