The challenge was to write something about a person or in the voice of that person; I've done both, but I must admit that I did so some while ago. If you've read before, please don't feel compelled to comment.
For those who haven't read these, let me explain the impetus for the poems. My son took a photo of a gravestone in a military cemetery. The stone is for a female marine from the WWII era. On her stone, it says (I kid you not), "SHE CAME IN HANDY."
I'll say. Sheesh.
She Came In Handy
When she signed up in ‘43
She got no special name,
But wore the eagle and the globe
And anchor all the same.
She trained with guns and aeroplanes
And learned to march just dandy,
But it was keeping things in check
She really came in handy.
They said she freed a man to fight
So he could win the war;
At home she did the vital jobs
That he had done before.
She typed the Captain’s letters up
And filed his work away,
She kept a calendar for him
And organized his day.
She felt great fear she couldn’t show
About the plans they made
To drop a bomb to end the war--
At least that’s what she prayed.
She gave her days to Uncle Sam
And when the war was done,
She shook their hands and said goodbye
And felt life had begun.
She married Jack and had three kids,
And when the kids were grown,
She helped by taking on the books
At the station that they owned.
She lived a life of sacrifice,
Blessed others by the giving,
And when she passed short years ago
She left a life worth living.
Upon her grave they set the stone
That told the world a story
Of one good life lived out in time
Without a thought for glory.
In words so sweet and measured out
Like little bits of candy
That summed her worth for all to see,
They said, “She came in handy.”
Me? Bothered by a stone?
Why, child, there’s a ring to it—
rhymes with dandy, and I was that,
in that uniform I wore.
They told us not to fraternize,
but I could have. I’d march by those men,
and I knew the power of my hips!
Never used it, though.
I was a good girl, a good Marine.
Wore the eagle, globe and anchor.
Did my job for God and Uncle Sam,
in my own way.
I freed a man to fight, they said.
He went to die, and I went to work.
Spent my time typing up the war
and praying they’d not drop that bomb.
But they did.
That might have been the happiest
and the saddest day of my life,
Cause then it was done.
I traded a salute and Semper Fi
for an apron and a big belly –
three younguns and fifty-three good years
with one man before it was over.
But you know, once a Marine,
always a Marine, and I never
felt so proud in all my life as the day
they planted me here with the rest.
Seventy-nine years doing
for others what I could, and I reckon
I earned the way they summed my life.
It’s no insult, child: I came in handy.