If Words Were Birds

“If words were birds and swiftly flew,

From tips of lips owned, dear, by you, 

Would they, today, be hawks and crows,

Or blue and true, and sweet – who knows?

Let’s play today, we choose the best;

Birds blue and true with dove-like breast,

‘Tis queer, my dear, we never knew,

That words like birds had wings and flew.”


This poem, printed on a crisp and faded square of paper, has lived inside the pages of my grandpa’s war journal for a hundred years. Was the keepsake a gift from Hattie, his sweetheart, or something he clipped from a book himself? Either way, he must have connected with the beautiful words and why not? For 16 months during WW I, his only means of communication with his loved ones was through letters, his lifeline.