Days of Grace

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
October 8, 2015

In my recent visit to the 115th Michigan State Conference, State Regent Diane Schrift presented a book of poems by Kathleen Ripley Leo, a member of the Sarah Ann Cochrane Chapter, which was commissioned in honor of our 125th Anniversary.  Kathleen wrote ‘Days of Grace’ as a tribute to the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.  I hope you are as moved by this poem as I am.

Days of Grace

These are our days of grace.
125 years strong, and we celebrate
those who gave women
who had no power to vote
or hold property, or control their lives,
a way to serve with a woman’s heart.

A woman’s heart is as deep
as the endless sea, and bounds
to the height of the shining stars.
She is a citadel of service,
with a shield of faith.

Those first DAR women
pondered blood seeping into the ground
at Gettysburg, at Bull Run, at Antietam.
They heard and pondered distant voices.

Those voices were men, women, and children
calling out from graves
where for a hundred years
they had dreamt of a secure nation,
and the future as a firework of splendor.
Voices full of sorrow and grace
inspired the hearts of our founders
in all their womanly comfort.

Now, in the name of our American patriots,
we build monuments from Washington DC
to America’s first oil well, to Mackinaw Island,
to Texas, to Fulton Ranch, Arizona, to California,
to all over everywhere, we are awed by tenacity.
We move boulders, place bronze markers,
install Madonnas of the Trail, like angels of peace,
honoring our nation’s crucial spirit.
They embody our American grace.

Now, we revere the womanly grit that
held up households, their quilts and needlework,
herbals, fruits of labor,
cooking something out of nothing.
The gleanings from the earth sprouted wildly, happy,
like a dance to the music of our favored land.
These are touchstones to gladden
our hearts in the midst of travail.

Now, we treasure fading gravestones and
decorative marble facades, sanctified in moss,
whose age old sayings diminish and crack.
Yet, in a wondrous corner,
a DAR insignia shines, a symbol of our
gratitude for their unwavering spirit.

Now, the graves of fallen comrades
in cemeteries from sea to shining sea
are honored by giving hands and hearts,
with cheerful wreaths and cannon salutes,
with schools to benefit those with no chance,
like the grandfatherly man who could not read,
and all the children on all kinds of mountains,
and the soldiers without limbs, who now have clothes
that fit the carved shape of new curves in their bodies.
And the Native American with heritage, with courage.

Now, we look to our next generation,
because we know they are our best hope,
our most precious resource.
How can our nation survive without them?

Now, we pledge allegiance, we proclaim
spirit and service as our legacy of 125 years:
it is the depth and height of our womanly hearts.

We serve with unending grace.
We are the Daughters of the American Revolution.

 

‘Days of Grace’ by Kathleen Ripley Leo ©K.R. Leo 2015 was first published in 2015 by the DAR of Michigan in their publication Celebrate DAR! by Kathleen Ripley Leo In Commemoration of 125th Anniversary of NSDAR,  the 115th Michigan State Conference, State Regent Diane M. Schrift, the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, and the visit of the President General Lynn Forney Young.

All rights reserved. No part may be reproduced without permission from the author. 

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