His battle scars ranged wide and deep,
Haunting every thought and dream.
Oft fighting demons while asleep,
And once again, with dawn's first gleam.
Essentially, he lived alone;
His family were all afraid.
It seemed he never could atone,
For awful statements that he made.
He wandered lost in visions wild;
In dreams of darkness, death, and war.
He struggled, helpless as a child,
Amidst the scents and sights of gore.
The anguish of bleak memories,
That tortured him within his head,
Seemed fated ne'er to grant surcease,
And made him wish that he were dead.
The doctors gave him many pills,
They said would drive the dreams away,
And staunch the shaking, and the chills;
Ague that filled his ev'ry day.
The medications fogged his mind;
They made him careless, distant, bland.
He missed the message to remind:
To wear a mask or wash a hand.
Too soon, he had a rasping cough
And fever, something gone amiss.
As if his demons weren't enough,
He'd met his viral nemesis.
He lay inert, his face unseen,
Behind the plastic tubes and tape.
His life's breath came from a machine,
His eyes taped shut, his mouth agape.
Within his coma, in the dark,
He heard a strange and welcome song,
Sung by a man, tall, gaunt, and stark:
Compelling him to sing along.
The Minstrel dressed in green attire,
He smiled a smile both broad and kind.
"Come warm yourself by my small fire,"
He called, "and ease your weary mind!"
That night, in ICU they said,
The staff reported what they'd seen:
Before the veteran was dead,
A flash of brilliant emerald green.Mick McKellar
I can only imagine how busy The Minstrel must be these days.Mick