Across a Field of Lilacs Spread – by Michael Mack

This is my favorite poem by the great poet and storyteller, Michael Mack, known to some of his friends online as Balladeer. He was a good friend of mine. I was heartbroken when he died last year of cancer. I learned a lot from him about writing and living well.
Michael, I hope there are lilac fields in heaven, and you have been reunited with your childhood love.  


Across a Field of Lilacs Spread

Across a field of lilacs spread
Like downy blanket soft and fine
Beneath the heat of summer’s day
Your freckled face smiled out at mine.

Your pig-tails flying in the breeze
Brought out the first-grade love in me
As futures lie before us spread
Like pathways to eternity.

Through school we went, inseparable
My class ring on your finger small
Our names in hearts with blackboard chalk
Proclaiming puppy love to all.

Then I was called to go away
As duty to my country came
And lilac tears were shared as we
Vowed one day things would be the same.

What happens to a soldier’s mind
When faced with war’s insanity
Humanity turned inhumane
With young men dying needlessly?

Somewhere the ‘little boy’ got lost
As innocence was blown away
And, by the time that I was through
I found that I had lost my way.

I wandered through the years alone
A soldier in civilian clothes
Who couldn’t wash the blood away
Or lose the shame a soldier knows.

On nights when pain was less intense
My dreams would bring your face in view
With pig-tails flying in the breeze
And lilac fields that we once knew.

Now life has entered winter’s chill
As summer’s fire has all been burned.
My path has finally brought me home
So, here at last, I have returned.

They tell me that you never married
Lived a nice life quietly
Became a teacher in the school
And always spoke the best of me.

They say the whole town wept for you
And even Jesus shed a tear
And opened arms to welcome you
When sickness took your life last year.

So here I stand…I place a lilac
Lovingly upon your stone.
I bid farewell to childhood romance
And to life I might have known.

Across a field of lilacs spread
I see the sadness in your eye.
You say you love me one last time
And then you turn and wave goodbye.


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