He wakes up with the morning’s light,
__stares at the empty bed.
A ritual for fourteen years
__since tears have all been shed.

The empty coffee cup remains
__unused upon the shelf,
and never touched in all that time,
__alone, all by itself.

Old wedding pictures on the wall
__to muse on every day,
They show how good life once had been
__before she went away.

Fond memories are always there
__to make him smile once more,
and bring a grin to his drawn face,
__a vision to adore.

Before he goes to sleep each night,
__He scans the empty bed.
A lucky man who needs no tears,
__He smiles now instead.



Phil S. Rogers is a sixth generation Vermonter, age 72, now retired, and living in Texas. He served in the United States Air Force and had a career in real estate and banking.  He previously published Everlasting Glory, a historical work that tells the story of each of the men from Vermont that was awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor during the Civil War. 

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11 Responses

  1. Paul Freeman

    Grief is difficult to convey realistically in poetry. Well done, Phil.

  2. Russel Winick

    This is a marvelous poem, Phil – perfectly paced and organized, with a lovely, inspiring ending. Great job!

  3. Sally Cook

    You approached this with dignity and a reserved but injured heart.
    My mother’s people were several generations of Vermonters name of Stone and Clark. The Clarks woke up one morning and decided to walk to Western New York, which they did, and filed land claims. Not sure how the Stones got here. Your book interests me, as I’ve done a lot of genealogical research.
    Could you tell us where we might be able to get your book?
    thanks for a lovely poem.

    • Phil Rogers

      Sally Cook;

      I have been a member of the Vermont Civil War Hemlocks for many years. They are a living history and Civil War reenactment group based in northern Vermont. I wrote the book, Everlasting Glory, in the 1990’s and gave the rights to them as they are a registered non-profit. It was published in a limited edition. I have no idea if they have any books left for sale or not. Please try their website: hemlocks.vermontcivilwar.org for contact information. If you need further help, please get back to me. My ancestors were the first settlers in Cabot, and Stone was a very old Cabot name, if there could be a possible connection. Thank you for you nice comments.

  4. Damian Robin

    Very nicely paced, going forward to an unknown conclusion. It could be a stuck Mrs Havisham character speaking. Even the “good life” could be dwelt on with minus notches of loss.

    Yet, gradually, almost unnoticed, “[f]ond memories … make him smile … and bring a grin to his drawn face.” Then the change in pace in the last line to make a fine up beat. “A lucky man [who] smiles now instead” of being drawn to negativity. A good resolution.

    Thank you, Phil.

  5. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    I like the way that the raw pain of grief gives way to the joy of memories made by the gift of love. I also like the way the sadness of the title gives way to a smile in the closing couplet, thus changing the meaning of The Empty Bed’, which turns out to be far from empty. This beautiful poem of love and loss is a powerful lesson in gratitude and eternity, perhaps. I am an old romantic and believe true love never dies. Thank you for this, Phil. I love it!

  6. Yael

    That’s a beautiful poem and very moving, thank you for sharing. I enjoy reading this over again.

  7. Joe Tessitore

    This is an excellent poem and, because it is an excellent poem, it highlights the fact that it is in need of one more syllable in its final line – its most important line – to make it flawless.

    This is a poem that deserves and demands to be flawless.

  8. paul buchheit

    Touching sentiments, Phil. Heartfelt emotions for a difficult time. Thank you for this.

  9. David Whippman

    A moving reminder that bereavement, unbearably raw at first, does mellow and soften.


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