The little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and stanch he stands;
And the little toy soldier is red with rust,
And his musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue Kissed them and put them there.
"Now, don't you go till I come," he said,
"And don't you make any noise!
So, toddling off to his trundle-bed,
He dreamt of the pretty toys;
And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue---
Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
But the little toy friends are true!
Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand, Each in the same old place---
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face;
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue, Since he kissed them and put them there.
By Eugene Fields (1850-1895)
I picked and memorized this poem for my fifth grade poetry program at Haven School in Evanston, Illinois. I chose "Little Boy Blue" because it reminded me of my brother Bobby, that had been struck and killed by a train in November,1959.
He was eleven years old at the time and I was nine and we were like two peas in a pod. Bobby was my friend, confidant, teacher and partner in crime.
He taught me how to build a block fort and to ride a two wheeler. He taught me how to shoot an arrow and how to pour water on a bees nest without letting them sting you!
But mostly, I remember that he taught me how to laugh from way down deep inside and how to love unconditionally!
I never cried when he was killed, I think mostly because I was afraid that my crying would make my mother cry. I remember her sobbing so on that cold and dreary day when the police knocked on our door
Nobody ever really knew how broken I felt, how lost, how alone. I would put a smile on my face and after a while I would even fool myself ... But at night when I was alone, I would visualize myself watching out our front windows, like I always did when Bobby was due home from school... and almost see him get off the bus at the top of the street ..almost see him!
I guess after all these many years, I was crying the tears from all the years before, when I wouldn't let anyone see me .
The tears are of joy now , because I know that Bobby is with me, finally inside my heart. He was there all the time of course, but I didn't want to accept that I couldn't have him back in the way that I knew.
So now when I read this poem to myself,.. I smile and think how lucky I was that this beautiful creature was in my life at all..... and still is.