Roy Exum: My New Year’s Treat

Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

A number of people share stories with me on a daily basis that have touched their soul. That way every one of them touches mine. On New Year’s Eve my dear friend Cauley Hayes – forget for a minute the wonderful surgeon saved my life on several occasions down through the years – sent me the perfect story at a perfect time. When I read “And Then It Was Winter,” I can guarantee the sun, the moon, and every star in the constellation were aligned in a way the New Year’s treat had a profound effect on me.

The version Doctor Hayes shared had no byline, no way to track it, so when I searched the Internet for some type of clue, I soon learned it was written by one of America’s foremost poets, Michael Dailey, whose words have touched my heart more than once in the past. There is a website,, where Dailey and the best writers in America congregate, that I adore.

For a long time I have feared the demise of poetry. It is perhaps the most beautiful of all creative writing, this because every story seems to sing, and a huge part of true education is left out when elementary school students fail to memorize and recite. That’s hard to do at first, but with practice comes delight, and a young boy who fails to memorize “If,” the classic from Rudyard Kipling, has been horribly deprived of the direction to true manhood.

Allow me to share two of Michael’s poems. The first is the one Cauley just shared. The second, “A Little Hill At Arlington,” makes me cry grateful tears whenever I read it:

* * *


By Michael Dailey

Time has a way of moving

So quickly that you’re caught unaware

The future seems far in the future

Then all at once it’s right there

It seems like only yesterday

I was among the young

Just married with a young child

Our lives had just begun

Yet now it seems eons ago

The years just came and went

I glimpse of how it used to be

How my hopes and dreams were spent

But here it is – it’s winter

The winter of my life

Somehow it got here way too fast

My memories are rife

I remember seeing old folks

Thinking that was years away

I didn’t have to think of it

That is until today

So here it is – my winter

And I can see the change

I’m older and I’m slower

And the young now seem so strange

I find taking a shower

Is a target for the day

A nap is not a treat I take

It’s my mandatory way

I advance into this season

Unprepared for aches and pains

The loss of strength and memory

A walker and some canes

Regrets? Sure there are things I’ve done

And things I didn’t do

But I’ve lived a happy lifetime

Regrets?  There are so few

If you’re not yet in your winter

Please do take some advice

It’ll be here quicker than you think

Time does not suffice

Whatever you’d like to accomplish

In your life time – do it now

Don’t put it off till later

For laters pass somehow

And you haven’t got a promice

That you’ll live to see all seasons

Life sometimes is fleeting

Comes and goes without the reasons

Live for today – say all the things

You want loved ones now to hear

Tell them to live their life in full

For their winter may be near


My spring was fun and full of life

My summer days were thinner

My fall was fat and happy

And then it was my winter

Posted March 2013

* * *


By Michael Dailey

There’s a little hill in Arlington
Where no bodies are interred
Yet crosses dot the hillside
And Taps are sometimes heard

Unlike the Unknown Soldier
With “unknowns” in the ground
This little hill in Arlington
Is for soldiers never found

I grew up without a father
He was gone when I was four
Flying for the Air Force
Back in the Korean War

His plane was ore’ the Azores
When communications ceased
The search went on for days and days
They never found a piece

My mother raised four children
Each day she learned to cope
She said until a body’s found
We’d never give up hope

The years went by just waiting
And my mother, bless her soul
Held on until her very end
To a grieving widow’s role

For fifty years we children
Had no resting place for Dad
No gravesite and no markerNo closure ever had

Then on little hill in Arlington
Where no bodies are interred
We raised a simple white cross
Dad’s Taps were finally heard

My big sister got the folded flag
And we all shed the tears
That had been bottled up inside us
For all those fifty years

Now Dad, he has a resting place
With other fallen sons
On a quiet little hillside
Right here in Arlington

Posted in 2011

* * *

If you get a chance in the new year, please visit the wonderful website called where Michael Dailey’s best poems can be found, along with hundreds of other masterpieces. But I must warn you – if you get on some night right after supper, it can easily hold you hostage until after 1 a.m. Also know some of its poetry may make you weep with gratitude.

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