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        Theodosia Pickering Garrison (1874-1944)

                                Memorial Day

    A handful of old men walking down the village street
        In worn, brushed uniforms, their gray heads high;
    A faded flag above them, one drum to lift their feet—
        Look again, O heart of mine, and see what passes by!

    There's a vast crowd swaying, there's a wild band playing,
        The streets are full of marching men, or tramping cavalry.
    Alive and young and straight again, they ride to greet a mate again—
        The gallant souls, the great souls that live eternally!

    A handful of old men walking down the highways?
        Nay, we look on heroes that march among their peers,
    The great, glad Companions have swung from heaven's byways
        And come to join their own again across the dusty years.

    There are strong hands meeting, there are staunch hearts greeting—
        A crying of remembered names, of deeds that shall not die.
    A handful of old men?—Nay, my heart, look well again;
        The spirit of America today is marching by!


The above poem appeared in Garrison's 1921 collection As the Larks
. It can be found in:
  • Harrington, Mildred P., and Josephine H. Thomas, eds. Our Holidays
    in Poetry
    . New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1938.