From the Anthology 

Veterans’ Voices

The Good-bye Room

Irene T. Winslow

A dainty lace-edged hanky clutched in hands,

Caressing uniform-clad overcoat.

She thinks of him away in distant lands

And lays her trembling hand on throbbing throat.

Her heart and soul appear to float

And, dabbing downcast eyes that start to fill

With tears, her breaking heart can never still.

And farewells are hard to speak, it is true,

But with these words the stationer will fill,

I do not want to say good-bye to you.


Entwining arms behind his back, she stands.

The tender words he tells her she will quote

Through lonely nights. Unhappiness expands.

She’ll move through many days as if by rote.

Around her inner self she builds a moat.

But now she’ll hold him in her arms until

Departure time has come; she feels so ill.

She hugs him tight. She knows not what to do.

And so she simply allows her voice to trill,

I do not want to say good-bye to you.


Her love is going off to distant lands.

In future days her time she will devote,

Remembering the touch of sturdy hands.

The long and ardent kiss and she will float

In though and soul, no matter how remote.

The Army camp, his tent upon the hill.

Now all her emotions o’er him spill.

She vows that she forever will be true

And thinks as tears begin her eyes to fill,

I do not want to say good-bye to you.


He leans out of the idling train while bands

Begin to play. One last kiss, an end note

To his civilian life. The crystal sands

Of time so quickly flow, appear to gloat

Soon he will leave for lands remote

While wearing olive drab and khaki twill.

He kisses her, hopes her dreams to fulfill

Of happiness when this mad war is through

But now she only knows an icy chill,

I do not want to say good-bye to you.


The dock is crowded. Tall and proud he stands

Beside his bride. He wears his new peacoat

His hat a tilt awaiting new commands.

Under her arm, she holds her leather tote

The gangplank of the ship acts as a moat.

She cannot follow; so apart they will

Spend their days until he will fulfill

His term of service and this war is through

And in her head these words are loud and shrill,

I do not want to say good-bye to you.


The time has come, she mutely understands,

And tells herself not to cry or emote.

She watches as the military bands

And crowds of strangers. Musical notes float

Valiantly midair. Her flat stare remote.

Of sad departures, she has had her fill.

She clings to him, and yet will not keep still.

I must be strong for him. What can I do?

I love you, but my heart is all a chill,

I do not want to say good-bye to you.


At final departure, their hearts will fill

With sorrow, despair, and fear. What will

The ensuing years bring? What will we do?

Though duty calls, their hearts are loath and ill,

I do not want to say good-bye to you.