Sunday, July 15, 2018


He loved to wander in his memories.
Yet, often he remembered things awry.
He glamored losses into victories,
And he beat challenges he didn't try...

Folks thought him harmless, and in truth he was;
Though he might sputter, bark, and make a fuss.
He did the kinds of things a hermit does,
And lived just out of town, in an old bus.

A teacher at the school would give him food,
Gave her time to help him re-learn to read.
But local harpies all misunderstood,
And served up grist for the rumors to feed.

Once, the teacher didn't show up at school,
And wasn't home at the house where she stayed.
The parents worried, and then some old fool
Cried: "The hermit!" And assumptions were made.

A crowd surrounded the rusty old bus,
And they loudly called for him to come out.
He came out smiling and grinning at us,
Until they grabbed him and shoved him about.

He started shaking and fell on the ground.
We backed away in our horror and fear.
He died of seizures, while we stood around,
And not one of us would even go near.

The teacher ran up and took in the scene,
She knelt and cradled his grizzled old head.
The air around her began to glow green;
A melodic voice said: "Leave him. He's dead."

A tall, green Minstrel was suddenly there.
A gate to Heaven opened where he stood.
A green fire, burning, hovered in the air,
And he said: "Get up Sergeant, you’ve done good!"

The hermit's spirit, in dress uniform,
Rose and saluted us, with a big smile.
His passing sounded like a thunderstorm.
The Minstrel lingered for a little while.

Slowly he turned, and he began to sing
Of a hero, and of a broken man;
Who still loved his life and everything --
Giving all that a human being can.

"Please call the Army to bury this man --
A hero deserving more than your fear."
We said: “He'll be honored, best that we can.”
We saw him nod once, and then disappear.

The Army claimed him and some of his things.
And the rest went missing in just one night.
His stuff was gone as though it grew wings --
While the bus was surrounded by green light...

Mick McKellar
July 2018

All the turmoil and focus on foibles of fools of late, made me think of The Minstrel and a quick story brought him back to me.


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