When a dear friend of mine published this poem for Memorial Day, I gasped when I realized it was written by her 11-year-old son (and nephew of our own associate editor Christina) who I’ve known since he was a baby.

Lucas has always been a sweet, remarkable kid — and yes, I’m biased — but I think you’ll agree his writing is extraordinary, so I’m thrilled I have permission to republish it here.

This poem would be an exquisite tribute to our fallen troops from any poet of any age, but the fact that Lucas wrote this in a competition for his sixth grade ELA teachers…well, wow. I think a lot of kids will now have a much higher bar for use of metaphor.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


The Flower Of Burdens

From panging heart and blood-stained palms
Came thirst for anger, brutal qualms,
And when the fatal ranks advanced,
The sky was filled with
dark war bombs.

God’s streams, once blue, ran red with pride,
Serving as a token for those who died.
Those men consumed in breathless air,
Above from where
their corpses lied.

Mortars and bombshells in their way,
Sha’n’t deceive them through the bloody day,
So through bleak hours and wistful smoke,
Our flag still reigns
above the bay.

These men, our saviors, put up a fight,
For panging heart and interred rights,
So when their names are called once more,
We will again
see blinding light.

And in the yard of long-lost souls,
Their parting cries, impartial goals,
Shoot echoes through the barren land
Of cement graves
and searing coals.

So as I meant to pass right by,
My heart was wrenched with ev-ry cry,
And as I felt their troubled pasts,
I placed a flower
with a sigh.

In all its grandeur, the flower stood,
A symbol for the greater good,
So when the gift shall wilt away,
The message will stay,
likewise it should.

For panging heart and blood-stained palms,
Came thirst for anger, brutal qualms
But when the fatal ranks advance,
Our victory bell will ring,
a psalm.

– Lucas E. Quinn
Massachusetts, 2017

Reprinted with permission. Congrats Lucas, you’re now a published writer!

Photo: Aaron Burden for Unsplash