Eileen Breedlove

AN OLD SOLDIER’S BOOTS

IWVPA Bronze Helmet Top Poet Award of Excellence: May 2002

IWVPA Friends of Veterans Award for Writing Excellence:June 2, 2001
Awarded: June 2, 2001
“What value can be placed on an old Soldier’s boots?”
I heard the auctioneer say.
“Will a bid be started for these old worn soles
that once trod in lands far away?”

He said, “I know for a fact they were worn
by a Soldier that survived the war.
For a treasure of history, what will be the price
that these combat boots will sell for?”

The crowd looked stunned as though at a loss
Where to start the bidding that day.
Watching a crippled old man with his head hung
as he stood in dim light by the doorway.

On a corner uptown with no place to go
I knew I had seen that man before.
Tired and worn living on the streets,
that old Soldier was still fighting a war.

I knew without a doubt they belonged to him
because the pain was showing on his face.
I walked up and put some money in the boot
and everything fell into place.

People came together at the auction that day;
the compassion in others came alive.
Everyone walked by that old Soldier’s boots
dropping a bill or two inside.

The auctioneer picked up those boots
And returned them to the Soldier by the door.
He was crying out loud as he clutched those boots
that once again carried him through a war.

“The value that can be placed on an old Soldier’s boots,”
I heard the auctioneer say,
“Could never be placed on the life of another
or the lesson we have all learned today.”