Hero of Her Heart

On February 9, 2007 Sgt. James J. Regan of the 3rd Battalion 75th U.S. Ranger Regiment was killed on active service in Iraq. Some time after the funeral, Sgt. Regan’s fiancee Mary McHugh visited his grave in the Arlington National Cemetery where he was buried with full military honors.

A bitter cold abounded
Beneath a mourning cloud
A hallowed peace surrounded
As every head was bowed.
In Heaven’s dawn her treasure
A new light will impart
God only knows the measure
Of the wound within her heart.

The life that he departed
Without a last goodbye
Now leaves her broken-hearted
Soul to grieve and wonder why.
Behold the heart of Mary
And the sacrifice it gave;
For who can put a ransom
On her fallen Ranger’s grave?

Her love lies still and shrouded
In absence’ lonely light;
Her days forever clouded
And sorrow rules her night.
He gave his all for freedom
She loved him from the start
Her tears fall in the Kingdom
Of the hero of her heart.

©2007 Rod Walford


The Menu

A Humorous Tale of Woe

Annette and her good friend Maree
Once met in a café for tea
The waiter did gauge
The extent of their age
Then a fatal mistake maketh he!

“Dear ladies” he said “Do peruse
This menu from which you may choose”
Then he froze in alarm
As Maree gripped his arm
And proceeded to give him his dues

“Young man” said Maree “Now I fear
You haven’t the slightest idea!
Younger ladies like us
Need attention and fuss
Not this Pensioners Menu! …y’ hear?”

But the waiter was far from subdued
And in fact was incredibly rude
“I am so sorry Ma’am
Sometimes mutton and lamb
At first sight can be quite misconstrued!”

Well, Annette was by now most upset
And a large jug of water did get
And lifting it high
Tipped it over the guy
‘Til the poor chap was thoroughly wet.

Nearby sat a poet renowned
Who Maree called a most cheeky hound
The drama he spied
And he laughed ‘til he cried
“’Tis the best entertainment around!”

Then he said to the waiter “Of course
You will need to display some remorse
For I could have told you
Never mess with these two…
They are quite a formidable force!!



Rod Walford is an Englishman living in Auckland, New Zealand and has been writing poetry for some 25 years. He is a semi-retired diesel fuel injection engineer. He has self-published several books of rhyming poetry including “Timeless,” “Real Poetry for Real Women (written by a man),” and “One Hour before the Dawn.” Access his website here: www.rodwalfordpoetry.com

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16 Responses

  1. Peter Hartley

    The first of these poems, sad but very beautiful, the sadness somehow for me enhanced by the beauty of her form. There are some very felicitous lines, my favourite being “in absence’ lonely light”.

  2. Julian D. Woodruff

    I am imagining the tea as a short starring Laurel and Hardy.
    While I ‘m here, I’ll continue my lonely, pedantic campaign to rescue the much beleaguered pronoun and plead for “whom” in the 6th limerick of “Woe.”

  3. Jeff Eardley

    Rod, loved both of these. The first is so moving and whilst reading I was reminded of the recent case here in England, of a police officer, caught up in the tow rope of a getaway vehicle. He died horrifically leaving behind his childhood sweetheart and bride of just one month.
    The second is classic, English music-hall monologuery. I was brought up on all those Stanley Holloway/ Marriott Edgar classics and this one is right up there with the best of them. Loved the mutton/lamb line by the way.

  4. Rod

    Thanks gentlemen appreciate your comments. The tale of work was a work of fiction but Maree and Annette are real-life friends. Maree often calls me a cheeky hound so I modestly inserted myself as the renowned poet lol !

  5. Joe Tessitore

    I love your work and these two are no exception.

    I did get powerfully stuck on lines 3 & 4 of the last verse of “The Menu “.
    I’m not sure what the technical term for it is –
    meter/cadence/inflection? –
    but they seemed to me to be terribly at odds with each other.

    I was left wondering if you shouldn’t have tried rhyming “told you” with “scold you” or something similar, that of course would have made sense with your punchline.

    • C.B. Anderson

      The problem you encountered, Joe T., is that Rod broke the meter in the lines you stumbled over.

      The “purest” form of limerick uses nothing but anapests. For example:

      There was once a young man from New York
      Who enjoyed eating soup with a fork …

      Amphibrachs also are often employed. For example:

      A fellow who lived in Ohio
      Embellished his fifty-word bio …

      Limericks have nothing to do with the number of syllables in a line, but only with the number of metrical feet in a line. Once one has established the metric, it is best to stick with it to the end, lest the reader lose the rhythm.

      Overall, it was a bold move to use limericks as stanzas in a sustained humorous narrative.

      And, Rod, “’til” is something of an over-correction and -completely unnecessary, as has been pointed out many a time on this site. “Till” is a perfectly good English word that means “until.”

      • Rod

        Yes you’re quite right C.B. as usual.
        Thank you for your observations.

  6. Rod

    Thanks Joe …. you’re right I probably could have improved the last verse and I’m sorry you got stuck on it…. although in my defence both lines have six syllables and you and two rhyme!

    • Joe Tessitore

      In all good humor and not to belabor the point, I think that in the case of the Limerick, the music overrides everything else.

  7. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Rod, “Hero of Her Heart” grabbed hold of my heart and squeezed tears from my eyes with its poignant and powerful message. “God only knows the measure / Of the wound within her heart.” says so much, and I think you got very close to the measure of that wound with your admirably and beautifully considered words. Very well done, indeed.

    As for “The Menu”, that “humorous tale of woe” – what a giggle-inducing picture you paint. I can see the Basil Fawlty-esque waiter with his “mutton and lamb” remark getting put in his place with aqueous finesse. Bravo!!

    • Rod Walford

      Thank you Susan for your kind empathy on “Hero” ……….and I’m so pleased you got a chuckle from “The Menu” and felt the spirit of the poem rather than the need to nitpick. I deliberately included the mutton and lamb insult as I know it’s often used by females behind each other’s backs and wanted to see how it would work coming from a man…..not very well as you can see lol!
      Bless you!

      • C.B. Anderson

        Nitpick?! So now it’s nitpicking to comment on breaches of form? No one NEEDS to nitpick, and if an author will only mind his “P”s & “Q”s, nobody ever would. But feel free to bask in unwarranted praise, if that is your preference. I must confess, however, that, as time goes on, I am becoming more and more fond of your unabashed sentimentality. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, and keep on doing what you do so naturally.

  8. Rod Walford

    C.B. Your inference that I might have a preference to bask in unwarranted praise is as much an insult to those who have commented favourably on my work as it is to me. I do not claim to write perfectly according to poetical law and neither do I necessarily aspire to. It is the easiest thing in the world to criticise another person’s work but if anyone really feels the urge it would be as well to remember that it’s not always what you say but the way in which you say it that counts. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Having said that, I am heartened by your last two sentences – an olive branch for which I thank you.

    • C.B. Anderson


      I guess an olive branch is better than a willow switch. And though at times I seem to get on your wrong side, this is far from my aim in life. I wish you all the best and look forward to your next post, at which time I hope to make comments that are more fruitful and less acerbic.

      • Rod Walford

        Thank you C.B. I appreciate that and I hope to post something more deserving of a fruitful comment…….although it may be a while as I haven’t sent Evan anything yet and it looks like there is a long queue! Keep well.

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