Saturday, April 4, 2009

little boy blue

A favorite poem of mine, that I could never seem to finish reading!

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 have tried so many times to post this poem, but had to stop because my eyes would well up with tears and I could never finish.

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.


  1. Oh Peggy, I cried and cried. What a sweet sad poem, for everyone loyal to a lost child.

    My mother had a favourite brother, close to her in age, and they were best friends. He died when they were teenagers; I only saw my mother cry five times in my life, and three times were for him, all those years later. Now that she's gone too I like to think of them together again, raising fun and trouble wherever they go.

    God bless you and Bobby, and all the gifts he gave you!

  2. Susan;

    Thank you for your great comment. I bet your Mother is with her brother now and that they are together "raising fun and trouble"
    I love that!

  3. I love this poem, too, Peggy!!! It reminds me of my brother when he was small.

  4. Thanks Kay D.

    I'm glad you liked it too. I know it's sad but very dear too .

  5. Oh Peggy, this makes me cry, too. I remember reading this poem as a child and never quite truly understanding the feeling behind it.

    Your beautiful post gave that poem a whole new depth and understanding to me. I do remember your telling me about your brother. I know how close you were to him. I really think he's been watching over you all these years. I ache for your mother and what she must have gone through at that time also. It must have felt good to name your first born after him.

  6. This is a beautiful post, and I am deeply moved by it.

  7. My dearest Peggy, I think you have deeply touched all of us with the beautiful poem as well as the story of your brother. It is heartbreaking I know to have lost him, but in my heart I feel you have found him again, just as you said and you'll never be separated again. So, I'll dry my tears and smile with and for you both. Love you.

  8. I'm sorry for your loss... but glad you found a way to keep your brother living through you.

    What a loving tribute that is in itself!

  9. Kay;

    Thank you for your heartfelt comments about my Mom. Being a single Mom must have made losing Bobby even harder. I know when Kevin was in the hospital, I don't know what I would have done without Jim. He was the rock that we all drew strength from.
    It's funny, I always thought about when and if I had children, I would name my firstborn son Bobby(Robert) but at the time when my Bobby was born, I did worry about having sad feelings if I did so. But I didn't after all,only warm feelings.

  10. Sylvia;

    After such a long time, I have found peace. I'm just sorry that it didn't happen sooner.

    ...and I have found Bobby again, you're right Sylvia and it's so strong a feeling for me, he is so much a part of who I am as a person.
    I hope he's proud of me.

  11. Hope;

    Thank you Hope, I know that most of us have had grief like this in our lives. It's a part of life for many.
    I do hope that my brother is proud of me. That would be the best for me!

  12. Linda;

    Thank you for your comments. I am so blessed to have people that support me here, Like a big group of girlfriends always available to hear you!

  13. This brought tears to my eyes too, and it was written so beautifully. I am most certain your brother is proud of you.

  14. Your post touched a spot in my heart. When I was a senior in high school, just weeks before graduation, my 21 year old brother Tommy who was in the Navy, was killed in a helicopter accident. It was very difficult to grasp, and watch my mother go thru that, and even though 42 years have passed, it never totally goes away. I've always felt that I was cheated out of sharing our life stories, getting together at holidays, etc. So, Peggy, we are kindred spirits again.

  15. Kelly;

    Thank you so much, I hope Bobby is proud of me. That would be perfect!

  16. Mare;

    I am so sorry about your loss. You mother and my mother share a huge loss too. Nothing worse then out living your child.
    You're right,the feeling of loss never totally goes away.
    I tried to fill my brothers place in my heart for many years,only to realize that nobody could fill the space..duh!
    I do at times feel cheated,and holidays are tough. But on the up side, I feel so blessed to have even had Bobby in my life at all.

    A mixed bag, I guess.

    Thank you Mare for sharing that part of your life with me. It meant a lot to me!
    We are kindred spirits for sure.

  17. Peggy such a touching post, I am so sorry you lost your brother in such terrible circumstances. I don't believe a pain like that evver goes away it just gets easier with time. I lost my younger cousin 8 years ago in June when he was 22 to a brain tumor and it still hurts me daily.

  18. Thank you Sarah,I am so sorry for the loss of your cousin.
    I know that what we mourn the most is the missed time and shared experiences. The laughter and the tears.
    From the supportive comments that I have received here, I feel that we are all kindred souls.


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