(A Soldier Died Today)

Published with the permission of A. Lawrence Vaincourt


He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.

And tho' sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
And the world won't note his passing, though a soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
A guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

A politician's stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.

It's so easy to forget them for it was so long ago,
That the old Bills of our Country went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor while he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say,
Our Country is in mourning, for a soldier died today.


By Gracie E. [Townsend] Buck
June 2001

'Tis history taught us how to live
With meaning to a life
Learn from the past of evil deeds
To help avoid the strife.
Embrace your neighbors with a smile
And cheer them on their way
Learn from each other as you go
Through each and every day.
Teach the children to react
With established manners good
So when they grow, they will live
With honor as they should.
If we don't learn good from the past
We're condemned to repeat the bad
Winston Churchill knew that truth
Guiding us through years so sad.
Now we know the value
Of history we must learn
To make a world of beauty
God's gift to each in turn.


By Gracie E. [Townsend] Buck
Feb. 2001

Cloud covered winter days
As lonely as can be
No sign of life at any door
As far as one can see
A search for meaning lingers on
Throughout the dreary day
Memories of so long ago
Are all that light the way
Yet memories contain sadness
That keep one from the light
Happy thoughts fleet away
As the day fades into night
May a new dawn bring us sunshine
And our path be bright and clear
With loved ones to support us
And friends who keep us near.


By Gracie E. [Townsend] Buck

Nineteen hundred thirty eight
Summer Days in the countryside
Green, green grass within a yard
Of towering maples spreading wide
A horizontal branch on a tree
Holds a swing with wooden seat
Bringing joy to the child there upon
Dreaming of life's special treat
Neighbour lady brings her child
So two little girls can play
They plan a special tea party
On a lovely summer day
Two little girls with ringlet hair
Like that of Shirley Temple
Childhood blond, and auburn
With ribbon bows most ample
The table handmade by the Mom
Has broomsticks for the legs
And little rocking chairs were gifts
To a girl of this special age
Child size china of English make
Is set out for this day
To teach these children manners
Of an old Victorian way
Little dolls and a big one too
Are propped up by the scene
Pretending they are having tea
Fulfills this childhood dream


by Gracie E. [Townsend] Buck [July 2000]
Henry was her paternal grandfather who died about 10 years before she was born.

Little Henry, said good-bye
To a castle home by the sea
With family all upon a ship
To a distant land they be
Maria then became quite ill
And soon had breath no more
Her body to the ocean went
Before they touched a shore
Six weeks to the great St. Lawrence
Alicia too, was dying
Another sister to the grave
And parents sadly crying
Over land they traveled still
To Stratford Church, St. James
There parents ill with fever lay
Till Heaven called their names
Six siblings stood around the graves
As the bodies there were lowered
Where would they go, now all alone
And move their lives thus forward
We must care for each other now
Said Richard and brother John
Work as hard as we can do
For sisters and little Tom
Pastor and the hotel owner
Gave Henry bed and food
As he cut from the mighty forest
To heat the place with wood
Margaret and Eliza stayed
With local families who
Made them servants in their homes
To build their lives anew
Little Thomas, not yet four
To another family went
Badly treated, still he grew
And ran off to a life well spent
One hundred fifty years and more
Have passed, yet memories linger
In hearts of the descendants
Who maintain this family honor


By Gracie E. Buck, 1968

As I awoke this morning
And looked around the room
I closed my eyes to sleep again
In peace, till nearly noon.
My world was all in chaos
With things I'd left undone
The time had flown so swiftly by
From dawn to setting sun.
How could I get enough of sleep
To gain the strength I'd need
To do the many things I'd like
And still have time to read.
Then in that peaceful morning hour
An inner voice so clear
Reminded me that God stood by
To help His children dear.
Give yourself to Him to-day
It said with great command
As I obeyed with humble heart
He took me by the hand.
With every step along the way
He led me sure and true
And when the morning comes again
He'll walk with me anew.


By Gracie E. Buck, 1981

Have you taken time to talk with a tree
Converse with it as you would with me?
Look and listen with all your heart
You'll find that tree is very smart
It will tell you tales of fire and man
With scars it bears from now and then
Of creatures it has sheltered well
Amid the storms when branches fell
Of nimble fingers picking bark
Where crawling insects leave their mark
When all your talents you implore
Greater knowledge lies in store
Artists see the form and line
Builders look for oak or pine
Some hear music in leaves at play
In sap that climbs so life may stay
Healers learn the tree doth give
Of itself, so others live
But the greatest message from a tree

Meditation under an eucalyptus tree
on South Greenville

How old you be?
A hundred years or more?
Maybe fifty.
You've seen a lot in your lifetime -
The sky of blue - the sunshine bright;
Now clouded with dusty gray.
The poison fumes you learned to breathe
Have made your leaves sag, and get hard;
Like the faces of old ladies
Beaten with the harshness of life.

I lift my eyes, and look
Into the pretty face of your blossoms.
I put my arms around your trunk -
Hugging you in identification
With the insecurity we both share.
What is your future, Tree?
I do not know!
But then, I don't know my future either.
Only the now - this good earth
Of the ploughed field
You Tree, and me.
by Gracie E. Buck, 15 April 1969

Gone to the Birds

Sing me the song you've sung me for years.
How soothing it is to this man's ears.
I have fed you and loved you through all of my days.
From near and from far and mornings thick haze.

I have taught my children to love you so they too will know
that the song continues though I must go.
My soul is preparing to leave this place.
Please teach me to fly from my body with grace.

How I long to be outside on this glorious day.
And then I heard Jesus, he said "But Curly, you may.
It's time for you now to come out and play.
Follow the birds - they'll show you the way.
Circle the Island - no more in pain.
The birds they will sing you a splendid refrain.
Fly higher and higher until you reach me.
You can walk on forever, you'll love it - you'll see."

"Welcome," says the Greeter as he hands me a Blue.
"I've no wish to offend, that just wouldn't do,
but it's been a long journey and I'm powerful dry.
Saint Peter, I'd rather a tumbler of rye."

I see the Great One, He sits on the throne.
He tells me I can fly now with wings of my own.
So when you think of me dear ones, look not to the ground.
Look to the birds - always up and around.
Feed us with laughter and love that abounds.

I will be ever watching as you travel, together and alone.
And don't worry about me because, honey, I'm home!

Written with much love and respect for James Kerwood 'Curly' Baker who went Home February 18, 1999 by Debbie Reynolds Baker. Also many thanks to Debbie Reynolds Baker and Lynn Blackadder and as Lynn puts it "That was my Dad".

Copyright Debbie Reynolds Baker


Your tombstone stands among the rest;
Neglected and alone,
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished marbled stone.
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist.
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
And come to visit you.

Author Unknown

The Farm Lane

The Little girl skipped down the lane
Where rocks did line itís edge
She thought of how the granite formed
Throughout an endless age

Of stone-boats flat and drawn by horse
That moved them from the fields
Where cattle graze on fertile land
That wheat and barley yields

A little hill doth lie ahead
A "drundle" itís proper name
Shaped like a wave when ice did melt
And a Northland springtime came

She climbed along the sloping side
Toward the forested crest
Wild strawberries there reside
To treat a child thus blessed

Once at the top she hurries down
To the river bank below
Then laying beside the water clear
Views that hilltop from down low

She pictures long gone Indian tribes
Who may have passed that way
Fished in the river as has she
On a clear and peaceful day

A lonely child in the countryside
Dreaming of yesteryear
Envisioning future ventures wide
In a circle of life held dear

As decades pass and far away
The lonely child grows old
Visions from that farmland lane
Are history to unfold.

by Gracie E. Buck [1998]


A bus Operator stood at the golden gate,
his face was worn and old.
He merely asked the man of fate
admission to the fold.
"What did you do," St. Peter asked,
"to seek admission here?"
"I was a bus Operator down on earth,
for many and many a year"
The gates swung sharply open
and St. Peter pressed the bell.
"Come in," he said, " and grab a harp,
you've had your share of hell."
by Loydel Scott, pensioner


Today we begin anew
What will the future bring?
In our search for someone to-
Complete a family ring

Rewarding sparks are lit
When we meet an ancestor who
In reading an obit.
Is reflected in loved ones we knew

Somewhere there is a clue
Despite disappointment and strife
We'll find a cousin anew
Who continued that circle of life

by Gracie E. Buck 1997


If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row,
Would you be proud of them?
Or don't you really know?

Strange discoveries are often made,
In climbing the family tree.
Sometimes one is found in line
Who shocks the progeny.

If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row,
Perhaps there might be one or two
You wouldn't care to know.

Now turn the question right about
And take another view.
When you shall meet your ancestors
Will they be proud of you?

Author Unknown

The following poem was contributed by Elizabeth A. Mugridge, Newsletter Editor for The Haliburton Highland Genealogy Group, Ontario, Canada. This poem was found in The Parish Magazine dated 1871 from St. Andrews Church Litchurch, Derbyshire, U.K.


The emigrants kneel in the old parish Church.
For the last time, it may be forever:
They scarcely had known that it would be so hard.
The ties of a lifetime to sever.
For the last time they look on the ivy-clad walls.
For the last time they hear the bells ringing.
'Twas there they were married, and now to that church
How fondly their sad hearts are clinging!
They listen once more to the good Rector's voice,
They will try to remember his teaching:
And hope they may never forget what he says,
As they look in his face while's he preaching.
That voice they have heard by the bed of the sick-
That face they have seen by the dying-
At the altar, the font, and the newly dug grave
The means of salvation supplying.
For the last time they stand where their forefathers names
They read on the headstones and crosses:
There are newly cut names: and others so old.
They are covered by lichens and mosses.
Then a last look they take at a green little mound,
Where one of their children is sleeping.
And gather a daisy that grows at the head-
Then turn away silently weeping.
The neighbours are waiting to bid them "God Speed"
To think of them each one professing-
At the gate of the churchyard the old Rector stands
To give them his fatherly blessing.
He placed in their hands the best of all gifts,
A Bible and Prayer book, at parting:
They could not say much, but he knew what they felt-
To their eyes the warm tear-drops were starting.
"Keep these in your heart" as he gave them, he said,
"And trust to the cross of Christ only:
Then the Lord will be with you wherever you go,
And then you need never feel loneley"