PRAYER OF OUR REMEMBRANCE

O Lord let all who gather here

Give thanks for freedoms we hold dear

Remembering the bravest ones

Though facing fear their courage won

A prayer of our remembrance now

O God sustain them by your power

Now what is left when war is done?

Do joy or tears remain unsung

Would mother’s sacrifice and grief

be blessings carelessly received

A prayer of our remembrance now

O God sustain them by your power

So in the fervent cause of unity

And the heart of our dear country beating strong

We rise and stand together here today

to proudly lift our voice in grateful song

The lamp of light, eternal flame

Illuminates

their honored ways

Steel guardians all who gave their best

Lord guide these heroes home to rest

A prayer of our remembrance now

O God sustain them by your power

Thou fount of mercy

Gracious One

Teach us to wield Your boundless love

Restore our nation in this hour

May ways of peace

our hearts devour

A prayer of our remembrance now

O God sustain us by your power

O God sustain us by your power

Amen

PRAYER OF OUR REMEMBRANCE

I love Veterans Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Those days have meaning to me because my father and his brothers fought in World War 2, and I’ve lost close friends and classmates to war, particularly the conflict in Vietnam.

War and its residual are tragic..ugly….and it rages on even now as I write. Young men and women, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and children. There are casualties, including the dead, wounded and their families. This while we go on about our business, mostly numb to the reality.

The following lyric is set to the hymn tune of “Eternal Father Strong To Save”. It’s my attempt to articulate the feelings I feel on these national celebrations of recollection and gratitude.

PRAYER OF OUR REMEMBRANCE

O Lord let all who gather here

Give thanks for freedoms we hold dear

mRemembering the bravest ones

Though fighting fears their courage won

A prayer of our remembrance now

O God sustain them by your power

Now what is left when war is done?

Do joy or tears remain unsung

Would mother’s sacrifice and grief

Be blessings carelessly received

A prayer of our remembrance now

O God sustain us by your power

The lamp of light, eternal flame

Illuminates

Their honored ways

Steel guardians all who gave their best

Lord guide these heroes home to rest

A prayer of our remembrance now

O God sustain them by your power

O fount of mercy

Heavenly One

Teach us to wield Your boundless love

Restore our nation in this hour

May ways of peace

Our hearts devour

A prayer of our remembrance now

O God sustain us by your power

O God sustain us by your power

Amen

THE BEST WAY

She’s my only daughter. Sarah Nelson Mingle. I need no other. She is enough. She is complete. Sarah is as strong a person as she is kind, and has never given Pam and me one day of grief, and always the one you can count on. (Oh, and one more thing..two really. She talks with her hands and is truly, the fun kind of funny.)

There are no words in the English language or any other mode of communication that adequately describe the love and respect I have for Sarah, or the gratefulness to God I have for giving me this priceless gift. I have only to hold her hand at every opportunity, be a good listener, give her my warmest hugs and whisper my best attempts to tell her how much she means to me. Oh, and yes, I can do one more very important thing .

I can endeavor to be a man after God’s own heart, continue to listen to His voice and understand that as I live my life, I am not making choices that affect only myself, but decisions that will shape Sarah, her children, and their children. And finally, as I love others well, she will realize all the more how much she is loved….It’s the best way for her to feel the truth of these words, “I love you, Sarah Mae. ❤️

NORTHERN LIGHTS

trudging long an Arctic path
with crunch of snow and ice
a traveler looks heavenward
and miracle of night

a vision of celestial flood
as like a mirrored fire
in colored streams of liquid stars
that beautifully inspire

Aurora Borealis born
of oddest harmony
where solar winds great power blast
spur earth’s proton release

the beauty of this intercourse
is art in nature’s way
the canvas clouds
with Painter’s brush
leaves mind and eyes amazed

the balance of the universe
gives understanding sight
for what it’s found
is ours to find
the soul of Northern Lights

Greg Nelson
© 2021 by Poppie’s Hallel
(BMI. Admin. by Amplified Administration)

MELTING

Look into my eyes
holding nothing back
what do you see
but look closely

we’re orphans in this world
and no child should be alone

this warring life
of wandering belief
comes with the hardship
of hurtful words
cruelly bequeathed

there’s heartbreaking loss
when someone is
in a split second
gone
and nothing can be done
to bring them back

so with no capture of myself
to fan the fiery wick
I’m happy
with you
and everywhere else

we’re snowflakes
from pure Crystalline water
pulled together
in the drifting dance
and would that I not besmirch
the Greater stroke
where the winter of me
melts only in the warmth of you

A poem by Greg Nelson
© 2021 by Poppie’s Hallel BMI (Admin. by Amplified Administration)

WHAT LIVES ON

Oh the joy when he was born
great hope for him and so much more
they brought him home then school began
a graduate with summer plans

Special friends and selfie pics
family meals and relatives
parents always there for him
and dreams that never ever dimmed

College bound or working plans
some were buying wedding bands
a proud Marine for this young man
serving in Afghanistan

People there lived in despair
through warring years invaders shared
with ISIS-K its brutal hands
more violent than Taliban

Marines in final exit days
led pawns in hell to freedom planes
but plotting psychopaths would find
a fiery way for their demise

And then the news caught by surprise
a bombing blast by suicide
a mother’s joy a father’s pride
their son and twelve more
lost their lives

For twenty years this distant land
was breeding ground for battlements
a back and force of blame and loss
with soldiers blood the tragic cost

At home deep wounds and smoldering doubt
leaves war again to reason out
so is this conflict really done
or troubling storm in what lives on

A poem by Greg Nelson
© 2021 by Poppie’s Hallel BMI (Admin. by Amplified Administration)

CERULEAN SKIES

Fire and floods
crime and love
tomatoes summer sweet
war and storms
buds are formed
as old man winter leaves

Covid fears
Sports and cheer
cerulean autumn skies
no relief
thoughts of spring
it’s beauty rhapsodized

Seasons from
earth’s pirouette
that change throughout the year
reckoned by
distant sun
and measured atmosphere

Steel and flesh
ice and death
we see the best and worst
acts of God
evil spawn
of man and planet earth

Lovely things
pain and loss
the smile of morning light
gratefulness
tends the world
how great it’s grand design

fragile life
in the fray
of hurricanes and hate
mercy then
everywhere
let loving hearts pervade

A poem by Greg Nelson
© 2021 by Poppie’s Hallel (BMI. Admin. by Amplified Administration)

WORK TO DO

Great strides in our technology
and human rights for us
have changed our lives in many ways
but have we changed that much

Seems we remain the ageless tale
of greed and love of self
midst poverty and pleasuring
with wealthy guarding wealth

there’re politicians promising
and church prescribing faith
but still remains the human core
that fawns our selfish ways

Change has never quickly come
but we hold hope it will
and fight for fairness in the world
yet poor live poorer still

Well there’s no entity on earth
with universal powers
that sure can offer all we need
and keep us safe from harm

Innovative industry
continues to improve
but our intentions for this world
have not gone quite as smooth

Still left to trust in laws and kings
this thought burns in me well
just how will mankind ever change
If I won’t change myself

Before I meet the world I want
and face the harsh milieu
my prayer begins at break of day
Lord I’ve got work to do

A poem by Greg Nelson
© 2021 by Poppie’s Hallel (BMI. Admin. by Amplified Administration)

FREEDOM LAND

Mangy dog on a rusted chain
Bordertown, just another day
Burning sun and a dried up well
Thirsty man in a living hell

Busted prayers of a Judas faith
Swim around in a concrete haze
Sweat drippin’ off a leather face
When’s it gonna rain

Freedom Land, Freedom Land
Take me to the river
wash me clean again
Freedom Land, Freedom Land
Won’t you take me down to
Freedom Land

Killin’ time with the enemy
They cut me open just to watch me bleed
Chasing heaven like a gypsy king
But not hoping much for anything

Freedom Land, Freedom Land
Take me to the river
wash me clean again
Freedom Land, Freedom Land
Won’t you take me down to
Freedom Land

I got nothing keepin me alive
Tried everything I know to try
Sweet Jesus help me catch a ride
Over to the other side

Freedom Land, Freedom Land
Take me to the river
wash me clean again
Freedom Land, Freedom Land
Won’t you take me down to
Freedom Land

STARLING (Élégie pour Simone)

Oh starling fire
the wind is hers
each time she takes the stage
a world enthralled
views artist skill
with ballerina’s grace

Her floor routine
with grand jeté
is beauty to behold
thru vault and bars
or balance beam
her dominance unfolds

And once again
Olympic throngs
came back to see her shine
but starling sensed
a twistie mind
was fighting her this time

This precious bird
once foster child
abused in doctor’s care
could never know
the undertow
of damage nested there

Twas strength and will
that carried her
in every test throughout
but broken trust
kept creeping in
to feed the waves of doubt

so when she heard
the cheering crowd
this champion was torn
her teammates strong
her head in flames
her choice was stepping down

Some believe
she quit her team
no courage to be told
while others feel
the issues here
are deeper than we know

No matter where
opinion rests
let kindness rule debate
and try our best
to understand
when mental health’s at stake

A poem by Greg Nelson
© 2021 by Poppie’s Hallel
(BMI. Admin. by Amplified Administration)

ON THE DOCK

standing on a floating dock
lake water and the sky
a father with a fishing pole
and three years by his side

trees aligned along the shore
of earthen art and sand
buzzing skeeters gnats and bugs
and v-lined pelicans

little eyes experience
a world not seen before
another drop of human grain
that memory surely stores

though stunning as the landscape is
and nature’s loveliness
beauty’s greater power is found
her hand fast holding his

A poem by Greg Nelson
© 2021 by Poppie’s Hallel
(BMI. Admin. by Amplified Administration)

AS WATCHMEN FOR THE MORNING

In the hue and cry of day
and life’s impending peril
songs of joy aren’t always sung
nor every lark may carol

Yet Lord I muse upon Your name
far into evening watches
beneath Your wing as in my heart
Your Holy Spirit lodges

though night is the professor now
to stem a faithless storming
still does my soul wait on the Lord
as watchmen for the morning

and from on high the stars that shine
attract my eyes toward heaven
though darkness spans above the clouds
Your will my lone confession

then sweet the whispered nightingale
heard in the quiet sky
she softly sings her comforting
mid colors of the night

and like the Eastern Whippoorwill
with his incessant cry
God’s voice is constant trumpeting
the mercy of our Christ

SO MUCH MORE

Beneath fields festooned in red poppies and flags, our valiant guardians now lie here in state. Uniform headstones stand fit for review, in beauty the honor of nature’s salute. With reverent calm bugle nocturne now plays, sad twenty four notes this Memorial Day. I live in the irony that gratefulness warms, for the grace I’ve been given, midst the sorrow of war

Dear Lord,

Help me understand what this means… I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me…but we’re tethered somehow…and their sacrifice is so much more than just another vacation day.

Amen