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“When Trails Divide,” a love poem for Ruth by Erwin A. Thompson

My father wrote this touching love poem for my mother, Ruth Evelyn Johnston Thompson after her death May 1, 2006. Today is the fourth anniversary of her death. Once again I'm sharing his tribute.

See Ric Masten's poem for Nancy Malone.


When Trails Divide
by Erwin A. Thompson
For Ruth, my faithful partner of the trail for almost sixty-four years.

From youth's instinctive optimism
To the realism of an older age
We faced the world together,
Like the turning of a page.

It seemed we each could understand
How the other one might feel—
We made a pretty darn good guess,
And kept our shoulders to the wheel.

No regrets, or second thoughts that
The marital knot was tied.
Together, we accomplished things
Many would not have tried.

Janet said we were like a team of mules,
Hauling supplies o'er a rocky mountain trail
The things we tried were things we did!
Not many of them failed.

"From Jerusalem to Jericho
They’re travelin' every day --
And many are the fallen ones
That lie along the way."
[Quote from an old gospel song]

The world is not too diff'rent, now;
With battered souls throughout the land.
We saw the heartbreak and the loss,
And always tried to lend a helping hand.

She said: "You must go on alone,"
Rememb'ring when she was my bride—
We shared it all, the good and bad.
My teardrops fall.

Our trails divide

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5 Responses »

  1. A touching remembrance. Thanks for sharing it, Janet.

  2. Thoughts from grandaughters:

    Sarah: I love love love this. Right after Grandpa wrote this poem...I shared it with a patient who was grieving the loss of his wife. They were a young couple with a 13 year old daughter. It was so sad to watch such a young family at a loss of what to do next. I got a letter from the man later on saying how much Grandpa's poem had helped him move forward and see the purpose of tomorrow without his wife. I am sure Grandma is smiling upon us all today.

    Janean: The sun is shining and her flowers are strong and blooming with deep roots.

  3. The beauty of Erwin's deeply heartfelt poem is that you can be with it while feeling the profound healing stillness of a truth.

    Today, I saw a bumper sticker: Commit Poetry. Erwin is gloriously 'guilty' as charged!

  4. Thank you, Eden. This poem by my father is truly heartfelt. And, you, who took such good care of your mother before her death can feel it strongly in your heart.


  1. Ric Masten’s tribute poem for Nancy Malone | Riehlife

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