War Letters–NaPoWriMo Day 5

The Letter

NaPoWriMo’s prompt for day 5 asked us to respond to a poem written by another NaPoWriMo participant. I’ve chose this one, written by Mike Patrick: http://thepoetsquill.wordpress.com/

Elizabeth, I Love You
by Mike Patrick  2011

From his pack he drew his ink,
a lone parchment and a quill
and laid them out beside him
in the mud upon the hill.

Moments before, he’d felt it;
with a thud the bullet struck,
dropping him onto the ground
where he lay there in the muck.

The cannons roared about him,
and the Minié balls whizzed by,
as he penned his last letter,
for Elizabeth’s goodbye.

Elizabeth, I love you,
and this heart within me cries
for the sight of you again
and the light within your eyes.

So young we were when married,
yet you made the perfect wife.
We didn’t know the drums of war
would bring agony and strife.

You placed a candle, facing south,
from the highest window sill,
to guide me when I return,
if should that be our God’s will.

This war that kept me from you
now forever keeps me here.
The moments which are passing
are the last for me my dear.

I pray you’ll find another,
Your life cannot be as one.
Blow out the guiding candle;
remember me to our son.

Elizabeth’s Letter
by Victoria Ceretto-Slotto 2011

The letter that you sent to me
I gave our son today.
The years have fled, but you were close.
Now, he must go away.

I never thought my heart would mend
the day I read your words.
But, for his sake, I did survive.
The years passed in a blur.

Eventually, I found someone—
the heart has room for love.
Our child knew that his father
was caring from above.

To him you are a hero,
he wants to be like you.
You would be proud of how he’s grown
to value all that’s true.

I’ve known a love like yours, my dear,
and then to have another—
More blessed am I than many
as wife and friend and mother.

Like you, his dad, our son is strong
and cherishes liberty
for which you gave your life, your all
so that we may all be free.

Today our boy must go to war–
your letter in his pack.
Another candle’s burning now.
Please guide him, bring him back.

Check out NaPoWriMo where poets everywhere have accepted the challenge to write a poem a day during the month of April, National Poetry Month: http://www.napowrimo.net/


20 thoughts on “War Letters–NaPoWriMo Day 5

  1. Mr. Walker says:

    Victoria, this is a lovely poem. Heart-wrenching and beautiful. It stands on its own so well, with the voice of Elizabeth coming through, and the way that you built on Mike’s poem was inspired.


  2. Both poems are touching, but together they work seamlessly.


  3. dswan2 says:

    You brought a tear and a prayer for all the sons, fathers, brothers and sisters who are serving today in the endless wars.


  4. […] the most tender, beautiful poems I have ever read. To see both poems as a set, visit her posting at https://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/war-letters-napowrimo-day-5/. Open a fresh box of […]


  5. ladynimue says:

    Very apt reply victoria 🙂
    Loved it totally …
    Its as if they have been written by same person !


  6. trisha says:

    you made mike’s poem complete. how i wish you had writen in the end about a world where war is an obsolete word, a forgotten word.


  7. Jamie Dedes says:

    Bravo! Clapping hands with delight. Reaching for tissues.

    Absolutly primo poems. Well done, both of you. Congratulations!


  8. Mike Patrick says:

    Victoria, I feel doubly honored in your blog today. Your response was so heartfelt, so touching, that I don’t have the words to describe my feelings. We can only pray the day comes when there will be no candles in the window.


  9. souldipper says:

    Are you sure you didn’t experience this, Victoria? It seems as though you’d have to know “it” to write it. Fabulous.


    • I experienced through my mother–a war widow when I was 3 months old. I think this was a strong influence in my own life work with death and dying. The part about the son was imagination, extrapolation…whatever.


  10. lucychili says:

    well matched response =)


  11. You have a knack for making me weep. Both poems are beautiful. You did a great job responding. Blessings to you, Victoria…


  12. Waldow says:

    Nice feedback loop.


  13. What a great prompt and a fantastic pairing. Almost makes me wish I had seen this prompt…. ah well, I suppose there are 24 other days with which to give it a whirl.


  14. Baishali says:

    oh …. very touching!


  15. Nice one victoria !Touching


  16. Bodhirose says:

    Both of these poems/letters brought a lump to my throat. What a great job of a response you did, Victoria. Truly heartwarming and touching.


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