The Messenger – 1967

for Memorial Day – seventh in a series of Toritto’s war poetry

When your son was killed that Summer night
you were filling up the car;
you didn’t know ‘till you saw my face
what I already knew.

While you slept your husband died
on a hill outside Dak To;
you had no idea when you awoke
but I already knew.

It was I who was the messenger
in blue adorned with gold
who brought the message of his death
my duty that his truth be told.

It was I who ordered that his friend
escort his body home
completed all the paper work
no wish of yours too small.

Each day the names came in to me
the casualties of war
for each there was a messenger
to knock upon a door.

No one ever shot at me
that Summer long ago
‘cause someone else went in my place
while I stayed safe at home

The Army in it’s wisdom
chose me to bring the dread
my unit left without me
left behind to serve the dead

but when I saw your name my friend
I pray that you did know
I’d have gladly died beside you
not to have to tell your mom.




About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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5 Responses to The Messenger – 1967

  1. beetleypete says:

    I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to have to constantly inform relatives, and be the unwelcome messenger of their darkest fears. It must have left you scarred inside, even though you had no physical wounds to display. You summed up the dilemma perfectly, Frank.
    As you generally do.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. When will we end all wars? When will we stop killing our sons and daughters? When will we end the pain of those who have died and those left behind?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. GP Cox says:

    When the Marine Captain told me the news, on his second visit, I began feeling sorry for him. An aircraft and helicopter pilot during the First Gulf War and he was sitting with me.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. jfwknifton says:

    Another great poem. Really imaginative. It just needs the right music.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. jlfatgcs says:

    A beautiful poem, and very fitting for a remembrance. I have a Memorial Day Remembrance for the entire school. These are preschoolers. We sing patriotic songs, hold the American flag, and ‘plant’ flags in our school’s Memory Garden, with the help of a marine, soldier, or sailor. I clearly remember as a teenager the day that there was a knock on the door, and the wonderful soldier who told us that Uncle Jack had died in Vietnam. Wonderful. Just like you must have been. Thank you! -Jennie-

    Liked by 2 people

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