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The Fallen

This Memorial Day, we reached out to our good friend and Board Member Steve Maddox for a poem of reflection. 

“The Fallen” – By Steve Maddox

Do not dwell on my story
For you, as I, will find it
Was largely fiction and self-deception.
Still there is purity in the truths
Neither of us may ever discover.

I am the fallen,
The sum-total of the true cost
Of the ultimate human folly.

I am the fallen
And I dwell in shadow.
Nothing you may say or do
Will alter in the slightest way
The legacy unique to each of my brethren
Or to me.

I am the fallen
And I am omni-present.
Failed causes and fruitless conflicts
Crumble to dust or worse
Only to be resurrected by well-meaning
Liars and leaders and ordinary men
Who would have us parade
Across history
Whole and handsome and
In the right.

I am the fallen
And I have already done my part,
Though flawed and questionable
My contribution may have been.

I am the fallen.
A tip of the hat, an honest tear,
A nod in my direction,
A serious though fleeting thought
Will suffice to see me
On my untroubled way

If only I may believe
The lesson I would teach you is not too late
For the learning.

I am the fallen
And I have earned my place
In both history and anonymity.

I am the fallen.
I am as focused and personal
As your loss,
As universal as mankind’s tears.

I am the fallen.
I am dank as the grave,
Fiery as the flash of yesterday’s pain.

I am the fallen.
And I long to rest…
In peace.