Memorial Day Poem by Lawrence Waddington


Friends Forever 

By Santa Monica Canyon Poet Laureate:

In a village church on a casket closed and sealed
A dog lay with paws splayed over the sides
His head drooped down in quiet sadness
Watery eyes looked like he cried

Pallbearers entreated Chester to leave
Tempted him with tiny bits of food
The dog refused to abandon his perch
His body reflected a canine mood

A woman stepped forward quietly
Leaned down to pat his head
“It’s Memorial Day she softly whispered
“Your master’s funeral has started already

Holding the hand of her little boy
She waved the pall bearers ahead
Chester never moved off the casket
Silently waited through the service instead

He met his master who fought in Afghanistan
But that fatal bomb exploded in the street
The dying man reached out with his hand
Said “goodbye, Chester, I know someday we’ll meet”

The eyes of the dog said “I’m glad you loved me
And we can play again like we did in the past
Throw me the ball and scratch my ears
And see how I run so fast

The funeral ended, Chester rode in a car
With the woman and child but never raised his head
Until they reached the cemetery grounds
He mournfully whined for the dead

The woman quietly sat down by the grave
An American flag folded in her hand
Chester stood up and held out a paw
The way he did with his plans

The child now held out his hand
Chester slowly inched his body closer
Tilted his head as if to say ‘“hello”’
Reminding him of his master

When the sound of “Taps” arose
Chester jumped up and stood erect
The casket rested alone in the grave
And the dog looked longingly at the child he met

All three walked away together
Chester jumped into the car
Sat in front and looked out the window
Memorial Day memories remained from the war

In Chester’s eyes you could see the pain
He barked and shook his head
The woman smiled and looked around
“Someday you will see him again” she said

She wiped the tears streaming down her face
Memorial Day will always be sad
She held the flag closely and looked at Chester
You were the best friend my husband ever had

On Memorial Day we remember those
Who gave their lives so we may live
But others suffer from losses too
From the death of someone who had to give

The National Cemetery in West Los Angeles.

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