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Water Magic


Red Bubble

About Our Animals

Homer's Pond

In Honor of My Mother

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This poem is dedicated to my beloved uncle, James Walling Connor, Jr., who served his country in World War II and spent his entire adult life in a Veteran's Hospital, never able to see the world without the images of war intruding.   When I was a child, he told me the story of seeing a deer on a morning battlefield and the story stayed with me my entire life.  He was a sweet and gentle man who loved animals and nature.  Knowing him was one of the greatest blessings of my life.  I wrote this the year before Uncle Wally died in 1997.


A Soldier's Memory


The young eyes of an old soldier

stare past the bricks and bars

that keep the world at bay.

Tame within his cage,

he remembers what lies outside

the sanctuary of walls.

This domesticated warrior

this watcher of hawks

still spies a Nazi

on occasion

crouched behind the tree

where the Mockingbird sings.


He remembers the light

of a smoke filled dawn

in the Black Forest

where he lay in a silence

broken only by the songs of birds

and the memory-hum of voices

screaming endlessly.

He remembers

watching the morning

spill into the fox-hole

like hope

before pain absorbed the glow.


Shock-dazed eyes

peer over the rim

of nightmares

to see a young deer

step gracefully

from dawn-hidden shadows

a creature from another world

another time

a reminder of life.

The soldier springs

into the light

rifle shot slicing the air above

to save this dream

this child of God

and scare it home.


The deer turns

leaping from light to darkness

with a flash of white tail

free to carry faith

to a place of safety

free to grow

and father children

free to live or die

in the world outside.

The young soldier,

tempted to follow -

to find peace

in whatever form it comes

stays behind, held fast

by honor and horror mixed.

He slides into mud

into darkness.

The battle begins again.


He stands stiffly now,

arms straight at sides

at attention still.

A soldier locked inside

red brick and bars

and flags of sacrifice.

But in the aged warrior's face

lives a gentle gardener

who knows the names of trees

and all the family's birthdays.

Who holds the memory

of a deer glimpsed

at world's end

close to his heart

like the spilled sun

of a long-ago morning

lighting the way

from his exile of darkness.