Poetry

Old Glory — A Flag of Liberty
by
David McCuistion
U. S. Navy (Retired)

Just a ragged piece of cloth some say,
With no real significance in any way.
Just a rag that with the wind doth sway.
Just an ordinary flag they say?

Then help me understand why,
After many years and battles does she still fly?
After so many deaths she reigns so high,
And around the world she refuses to die.

Please tell me why if you will,
Her National Anthem gives such a thrill.
When remembering her raising on Iwo Jima’s hill,
That very sight gives such a chill.

Tell me why citizens cherish her so,
And stand ever ready to take up arms and go
Defend that divine principle of which we know
Helps the tree of liberty continually grow.

What reason can be found
For rushing to defend her world ‘round?
What keeps he from decaying on the ground?
I ask you, can’t you hear the sound?

That sound of Freedom that so loud doth ring!
The sound of God Bless America as we sing!
That sound of courage of Eagle’s wing!
That sound of liberty to which we cling!

This Flag, flown proudly in every American town,
Says civil and religious liberty can be found.
This Flag raised daily to fly above the ground,
Exalted, revered, protected by citizens all around.

Just a ragged piece of cloth some say?
With no real significance in any way.
A Flag of Liberty like no other, I say!
Yesterday, today, always!

The Blood Is Strong

Here is a poem I wrote about my heritage.
Miles MacEachern, M/Sgt.USAF ( Ret.)


My mother’s clan, the MacDonalds, were Lords
of the Isles. Their galley ships sailed down
the lochs to Bannockburn, to wield their swords
for King Robert, to save the Scottish Crown.


My father’s clan, the "Sons of the Horse−Lord",
were Blacksmiths, from the Hebridean islands.
MacEacherns forged the mighty Claymore sword
that drove the hated English from the Highlands.


They raised those blades again in ‘45
but British cannon brought them to their knees
And those few Clansmen who were left alive
were forced to flee here to the colonies


In me, that Highland blood is pure and true.
That’s why, sometimes, there’s whiskey in there too.
Miles MacEachern

" A Soldier’s Lament"

When I was a boy in my early teens,
I fostered many wonderful dreams.
Someday I’d climb a mountain high,
So high its peaks would reach the sky.

One minute I’d be a locomotive engineer,
The next I’d be an aviator without fear.
I could be anything-and mom always said,
If I worked hard-and used my head.

Maybe I’d be a cowboy movie star,
Or the driver of the fastest racing car.
Perhaps I’d be a soldier bearing arms,
Keeping my country safe from harms.

No, I never climbed that mountain high,
Drove a locomotive-flew a plane in the sky.
I never became a great athlete or a cowboy star,
Nor did I drive the world’s fastest car.

Those were the days of the Great Depression,
When dreams were your only true possession.
But for God and Country a soldier I became,
Not famous-nor did I gain great fame.

As my life on earth Dwindles away,
I think about day dreams of a long ago day.
But if my youth I could somehow regain
For God and Country I’d be a soldier again.

Homer R. Ankrum
LTC, USA (Ret.)
1920 - 2003
Poem by LTC Homer Ankrum read at his
funeral by then NC Al Ankrum.
Now repeated here as a Memorial Day Tribute
and Ode to all WWII Veterans.
Al Ankrum, NCE

Women, Whiskey and War

They are trying to gentle the gender,
To civilize Western man.
They think that your thoughts are too dirty ‐ ‐
Not to mention your heart and your hands!

They bid us to banish our weapons,
For bravery is "macho" they say.
We must learn that weeping's not weakness ‐ ‐
And put it on public display.

They know not of weeping in private,
They know not how our hearts can break,
They think that a soldier’s not human ‐ ‐
The arrogance of the mistake!

Let us charge our glasses for drinking,
A dram to our friends in the Corps,
A toast to a life worth the living ‐ ‐
To women and whiskey and war!

Not women to serve as our playmates,
But partners to stand at our side,
Our equals under the heavens,
And first in our hearts and our pride.

Not whiskey to burn out the senses,
But a dram of the Highland malt,
To share with our friends over stories,
And to ease the pain of our faults.

Not war as a game for the sadist,
But honor for men who would fight,
Refuse acquiescence to slavery,
And lay down their lives for the Right!

They are trying to gentle the gender,
But there are wolves in the world,
And who will answer the summons,
When a Fuhrer's next flag is unfurled?

They are trying to gentle the gender,
But when the old wolf’s at the door,
They will beg for men who are living,
For women and whisky and war!

- - Robert A. Hall S.A.M.S. member #R701


The Scotland I Remember
As I look to the East,
Far across a vast Sea.
I remember a past,
A smile lingers last.

Highlands seem to whisper,
A need to return there.
I see heather in bloom,
Beginning in June.

I will not forget thee,
Warms thoughts come to calm me.
Etched forever in stone,
Standing proud alone.

In this land which we’re free,
Praising down on bent knee.
As I turn to the West,
I still love thee best.

Martha J. Walls


I dedicated the poem to my mother and father,
and my Scottish ancestors that helped to lay
the foundations of our great nation,
the United States of America.


In Salutation and Celebration
Look yonder all ye Tartans
Behold our Brave and Bold
Our Bonny Lads and Lasses
Clad in the mornin’ cold

Gathered ’round our Country’s colors
Like wee Bairn to their Mother’s skirt
They are our Sons and Daughters
Gone off to do our Freedom’s work

And as they stand awaitin’
To meet the Battle’s cry
Across the ages echoes
“We Must Do Or We Must Die!&rdquo

Now deep in their souls
there lives and ancient call
To fight for right and freedom
Not just for one, but for us all

So take up the Pipes and play them
And to their trill let your Tartans swirl
For today we celebrate our heritage
Each Celtic Man, each Celtic Woman,
each wee boy and each wee girl

God Bless the Land of Our Freedom
God Keep Those Who Keep Us Free
For without America’s Soldiers
America Wouldn’t Be!


Dolly A.R.Elliott-Hames
Tartan Day 2005




Loved Ones Have Passed On

Loved ones may be dead and gone;
You just have to carry on.
On this loved ones shirt,
Perhaps, there was a chevron.


They may have been brothers -
or sisters in arms;
A father, a mother,
A brother, a husband a wife.


Your loved one has gone on to the other side;
The pain in your heart cries and cries -
Some don’t understand and don’t abide.
In the end there must be a surmise.


As long as you remember your kith and kin;
Remember the good times, and even the bad times too!
Remember them in your heart and mind.
You will not have to say to your loved ones adieu!


There must be something beyond this life,
Where loved ones meet and greet each other.
Where there is an end to the pain and strife,
That is caused by loved ones passing over.


Roland Lewis Behunin
14 November 2005
SAMS Post 1847


The Highland Games

In ages past,
and times of yore -
The Celtic Clans would war.
The pipes were banned.
The Highland Games began.


The flags were flying,
The anthems they did sing,
The clans marched,
The dancers danced a fling.
The Chieftain spoke.


In the modern age
The caber toss -
The pipers piped
Some have won,
And some have lost.


The clans have tents,
The vendors booths,
Scottish Kilts for sale or rent.
A dentist to pull your tooth.
All on a Scottish Holiday


Roland Lewis Behunin
July 2005
SAMS Post 1847


The Gathering


I'm starting to remember things
My old forefathers learned.
Things strewn across the chilly winds
When homes and memories burned.

I'll gather them home again...

That distant Land like sirens
Calls out to Her sons.
We've scattered 'round the Marbled Globe
For work that's never done.

She'll gather us home again...

Still hilts grow loose from palms
Embattled by old age.
And once set free we all must fly
Out from our Mortal Cage.

I'm going home again...

Randal L. Carr
March 29, 2009 S.A.M.S. Herald

An Ode to Mead

A libation is consumed called mead
On lands that include the Celtic shores
This is a simple honey wine.
That was a popular drink in times of yore.

Mead has a lot of myth and legend and lore.
From Vikings to Celts and Gaels.
In Celtic lore from which to heed
Brigit was known as a brewer of mead.

In the honey the yeast must take seed.
There is the Great Goddess Maeve..
She is the Goddess of libation.
Her name means mead.

So raise a Quaich of mead to
Brigit or Maeve and say Slainte!


Roland Lewis Behunin
SAMS Post 1847


ODE TO A PRIVATE

A YOUNG MAN SIGNED ON THE DOTTED LINE,
FOR OUR COUNTRY THE WAR HAD BEGUN.
HE WITH SOME FRIENDS, HAD ENLISTED
AND HE WAS GOING TO CARRY A GUN


AS A ROOKIE HE WENT INTO TRAINING CAMP,
READY TO DO HIS BEST.
DAY AFTER DAY OF DRILL AND POLICE
AND PLENTY OF SQUADS "EAST AND WEST".


REVEILLE, MESS, INSPECTION AND DRILL,
THEN GO AND CURRY A HORSE.
SETTING UP EXERCISE, SHOTS IN THE ARM,
SO THEY COULD SEND HIM ACROSS.


A TRIP ON A BOAT, SOME TIME ON THE RANGE,
PRETTY SOON THEY''D GO INTO THE LINE.
GUN DRILL AND HIKING AND LETTERS HOME,
HE COULD SAY: HARD AS NAILS, FEELING FINE.


ON THE FRONT WITH THE GUNS, REAL SERVICE NOW,
AND PROUD TO BE IN IT AT LAST.
SOME HAD BEEN WOUNDED AND SEVERAL WERE KILLED,
THEN THE BOY AND SOME "BUDDIES" WERE GASSED.


IN THE HOSPITAL CLEAN WHITE SHEETS ON THE BED,
RED CROSS PAJAMAS AND REST.
HE'D SOON BE MARKED "DUTY" AND BACK TO THE FRONT,
BUT SOME OF THE BUNCH HAD "GONE WEST


MONTH AFTER MONTH OF IT, SICK IN HIS SOUL,
FROM THE NOISE AND BLOOD AND SORROW.
DOING HIS DUTY THE BEST WAY HE COULD,
WITH NO TIME TO THINK OF TOMORROW.


THUNDER OF DEATH AND FLAMES OF HELL,
STENCH OF HORROR’S THAT ONCE HAD BEEN MEN.
"CANNONEERS POSTS" THE GUNS MUST GO ON,
SO THE WORLD COULD BE QUITE AGAIN


ARMISTICE...GOD! “NOW WE’LL GO HOME”
HE DID AND AND AT LAST WAS AT LARGE.
BACK INTO CIVVIES AND HIS TIME WAS HIS OWN,
AND AN EXCELLENT HONORABLE DISCHARGE.


NOW HE IS MARRIED AND IN HIS HOUSE.
QUITE A FAMILY ANSWERS MESS CALL.
"KELLEY'S BATTERY" .. THE OLD OUTFITS PICTURE,
WITH HIS DISCHARGE IS HUNG ON THE WALL.


HE "SERVED WITH HONOR" ..THERE ARE SCARS IN HIS SOUL.
ALTHOUGH PRIVATE (1ST CLASS) NOTHING MORE.
HE IS STILL PROUD THAT THERE HAD
TO BE SOME PRIVATES TO HELP WIN THE WAR


GURDON HUNTINGTON

SHIPMATE

Our hearts light and happy as the day
Cheeks were ruddy, eyes were bright,
Locks were dark, Shipmate
As we sailed from our homes far away

Long ago we were sailing away Shipmate
Our flags to the breezes gaily flung
Our faces were turned to the foe, Shipmate
When you and I were young


But now we are aged and gray, Shipmate
Trials of life are nearly done
But to us life is as dear as it was, Shipmate
When you and I were young


Long ago into battle we sailed, Shipmate
Our courage and spirit at its peak
No Navy could drive us away, Shipmate
When you and I were young


Long ago we were tall and slim, Shipmate
Our ship swept far o’er the blue
Air group and ship’s company cheered, Shipmate
As our planes to the enemy they flew


But now we are aged and gray, Shipmate
Trials of life are nearly done
But to us life is as dear as it was, Shipmate


We served on Bonnie Dick, Shipmate
Our countries honor to defend
May her glory and her deeds be recalled, Shipmate
And sung by us all till the end


We that outlived that war, Shipmate
Stand proud for Bon Homme Richard
From that time to the end of the world, Shipmate
By we few, we gallant few


But now we are aged and gray, Shipmate
Trials of life are nearly done
But to us life is as dear as it was, Shipmate
When you and I were young


Long ago we were boys in the ranks, Shipmate
Our hearts light and happy as the day
Cheeks were ruddy, eyes were bright,
Locks were dark, Shipmate
As we sailed from our homes far away



Written for the men of USS Bon Homme Richard CV31
By Channing M. Huntington II, BTG/3C 1991


To the Armed Forces

Dear friends, tonight I offer a toast
For our Armed Forces, I will boast;
Of their love for coast to coast,
Stewards of freedom, they are the host.

Without mind of time or space,
They stare into death’s face,
Away the wolves they do chase,
Until crossing to take their place;

At rest beside the ancestral fire,
As we light their funeral pyre,
We offer prayers as they retire,
Rising on the smoke ever higher.

Friends! We must always delight,
In those able and willing to smite,
With fire and sword and might,
To ensure us, a peaceful night.

And their clans, we must ne’er forget,
They share their loved ones yet,
And always should they be met,
With our thanks, we are in debt.

So warriors far and wide,
And any here by our side,
It is with honor and pride,
I thank you and those who’ve died.

Sláinte! -William K. Smith

Copyright 2017, Scottish–American  Military  Society

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