General Poetry posted June 21, 2016

This work has reached the exceptional level
a narrative poem about a ring lost & found

The Ring

by RodG

If one required a quick divorce,
you came to Reno, spent six weeks.
Yes, this was what she'd come and done,
the new divorcee Sally Meeks.

She stood alone upon the bridge,
tears streaming from her sky-blue eyes.
"How can I keep this band of gold
that represents false love and lies?

A ring he slipped upon my hand.
Then vows declared, he kissed my lips."
Reluctantly she took it off,
caressed it with her finger tips.

"I must!" she cried and raised her arm,
then flung her wedding ring away.
It flew not far before it dropped
into the rushing stream that day.

Too far above, she could not see
where Truckee's currents carried it
o'er polished stones, by mossy rocks
into a swale of silt and grit.
* * *

Young Jack O'Brien waded through
the shallow stream one afternoon
in quest of booty lost or tossed
by tourists on their honeymoon.

What did he see, a glint of gold?
He bent and let his fingers search
the shallows near a gravel reef
where something precious seemed to perch.

He stared at what his hand now held,
a simple little band of gold.
Though nicked and scratched a tiny bit,
it did not look to be that old.

The owner of a pawn shop said,
"It isn't worth that much to me,
but Irish myth says gold that's found
can bring one luck, change destiny."

"I guess I'll keep it then," Jack grinned,
and made it his new pinky ring.
And as he aged that finger grew.
Soon he could not yank off that thing.
* * *

A few years passed and Jack was sent
to Vietnam where thousands died.
He fought in jungles, chased VC,
came back unscathed but mortified.

An Army major asked of him,
"Just tell me, Sarge, how you alone
returned unharmed from Charlie's trap,
when those not killed all scream and moan?"

The grizzled vet could only shrug.
"Heard bullets zinging overhead
and felt grenades explode nearby.
Thought I'd awake in heaven dead."

Much later in his battered tent
Jack rubbed his ring and sadly mused,
"You've brought me luck, but I've lost friends.
Inside I'm scarred and badly bruised."
* * *

The body of a homeless man
was found beneath the V-Street bridge.
Called "Lucky Jack" by those old vets
who roamed along the river's edge.

"Blamed all his luck on that old ring,"
one said aloud to cops and friends.
"The man would never take it off,
but said he had to make amends.

He'd hit the tables, rarely lost
at craps, roulette, or twenty-one,
yet gave to churches, the VA,
most all he owned or ever won."

When buried Jack still wore that ring
a woman threw and he had found,
a slender band of yellow gold
with him forever 'neath that mound.


The photo is courtesy of Google Images.

Reno, Nevada for many years was the divorce capital of the world because no "fault" was needed and a six-week residence was all that was required. Legend has it that ex-wives would kiss the column outside the courthouse and toss their ring over the Virginia Street Bridge after receiving their final dissolution of marriage decree. Divers have been finding rings in the water beneath the bridge for years.

A pinky ring--a ring worn on one's little finger.

VC were the Viet Cong who fought American troops in guerrilla fashion.
"Charlies"--another name for the Viet Cong.
"mortified"--shamed or humiliated.
VA--the Veterans Administration Hospitals

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