After the heat of the battle's long day,
John happened to pass where a young soldier lay -
Covered with blood - limbs twisted askew,
And found, after all, his compassion still grew.
So John moistened the dying man's lips and his face,
And lovingly straightened his limbs into place;
He listened and prayed and stayed by his side
Trying to comfort him ere he died.
Jim looked up at John - so grateful was he -
And, as life slipped away, just a faint word could be -
A request for a paper was what John heard;
With a blunt lead pencil, Jim wrote his last words:
"Dear Dad, receive John, I humbly pray,
For he has made my last moments easier today.
He has done all he could - nor left me alone;
So for my sake, Dear Father, treat him as your own.
The war ended soon and though John was ill clad,
He had promised to get Jim's last words to his dad;
So he made the long journey - weary and worn,
And he found, at last, the way to Jim's home.
The father was wealthy - not used to such sights
Of tattered, bedraggled, rough soldiers at night.
What could an unkempt, ragged man have to give
Soldier or not - of least interest to him?
Then the note was tenderly handed...and read...
And the weeping old father believed what it said;
For that trembling hand portrayed clearly to him
The familiar slant with the signature, "Jim".
And the old father reached (though immaculate he)
And drew John as close as could possibly be;
He wept and he held John next to his breast,
Drew him inside for good food and rest.
He lay at John's hands anything he might need;
He dressed him in velvet and gave him his steed.
Jim's father loved John in a very special way
Because of the name on that crude note that day.
...Now..I stand in my tattered old rags of sod
Before an immaculate, pure, holy God -
In need, oh, yes, in such terrible need -
And not one single part can be furnished by me...
But....I have a note...and it's written in red -
He opens it up as I tremble - it says:
"Father, open the gate for My sake I pray -
This one is mine - paid in full today.
All the glory and splendor of Heaven is mine!
I'm made worthy to stand in His presence divine!
Not for me...but for Him! Not my works...but His own
Have gained me a robe and a crown and a Home!
Joan Clifton Costner