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Hero
by
Sharon Waller Knutson


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for Lloyd Clyde Gneiting, who died at 101 of natural causes

 
Five bronze stars,
an American flag,
and “World War II Veteran”
decorate his ball cap.
 
Having survived five battles
under General Patton
and teaching his grandchildren
how to drive four-wheelers,

 a banged-up nose and
a handful of stitches
from a fall
don’t worry him a bit.

He’s just irritated
he can’t bowl with
the league this winter,
but as soon as he heals,

he’ll be back to boogying
whenever he rolls a strike,
waltzing and jitterbugging.
and collecting rocks..
 
On his hundredth birthday,
he rides in a fire truck.
As sirens shriek, seniors cheer,
he smiles, waves, and greets
reporters with a crisp salute.

 
This poem appeared in a different form in They Affectionately Call Her a Dinosaur (2016).
Used here with permission.

 



Sharon Waller Knutson lives in a house her husband, Albert, built out of clay from the land on a dirt road in the middle of a wildlife habitat and open range of the Arizona desert. A retired journalist, she writes poetry for readers who don’t normally read poetry. In 2014, Sharon sold her chapbook, My Grandmother Smokes Chesterfields, to winter visitors from all over the world in a café where her husband played guitar and sang country music. Her customers told her they expected her to publish a new poetry book when they returned each year so, in 2015, she published Desert Directions, about her life in the desert. In 2016, she published They Affectionately Call Her a Dinosaur, poems about her customers and other seniors in her life who started new careers, businesses, and relationships after they retired. In 2017, she published I Did it Anyway, poems about how she broke the glass ceiling in the newspaper business in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when women were typically relegated to the society pages. Many more books followed, and now Sharon maintains an entertaining blog called Storyteller Poetry Review. Sharon and Albert (now retired from his music gig) stay busy raising assorted critters and enjoying their 11 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.

                             



Post New Comment:
michael escoubas:
As veterans we fight the wars we are given . . . even the unpopular ones such as Vietnam. Mr. Gneiting's valiant yet humble service in WW II, truly is representative of the patriotic spirit that has defined the greatness of America.
Posted 11/11/2020 07:28 PM
Anastasia:
Very moving - thank you!
Posted 11/11/2020 07:17 PM
Lori Levy:
Beautiful tribute to this man.
Posted 11/11/2020 03:02 PM
pwax:
Your poem presents not only a hero, but a role model for us all! Good poem!
Posted 11/11/2020 01:18 PM
Shoshauna Shy:
I'd like to know this man!
Posted 11/11/2020 12:25 PM
joecot:
Mr Gneiting, I salute you!
Posted 11/11/2020 11:33 AM
peninsulapoet:
I think it must be Sharon's background as a journalist that sharpened her storytelling gift. We always know the who, when, where and by the time the poem ends, the why.I am a fan!
Posted 11/11/2020 09:14 AM
KevinArnold:
I can see the bunting. Great fun.
Posted 11/11/2020 08:34 AM
Stephen Anderson:
What a wonderful poetic salute !
Posted 11/11/2020 08:00 AM


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