A troop’s tradition of passing the same position patch from one Scoutmaster to the next has been forever encapsulated in a beautifully written poem.
The piece, from the pen of Troop 159 Assistant Scoutmaster Nick Dorosheff, ponders the Scouting magic stored in that “small circle of tan cloth.”
I’ve become a believer in the power of poetry over the past few years as my wife completed her MFA in writing, and so this submission comes at the perfect time.
Thanks to Nick for agreeing to let me post his piece and to Troop 159 Activity Chairwoman Karen Browning for sending it to me in the first place.
Enough prose from me. It’s Nick’s poetry you should read, after the jump. Enjoy.
The Scoutmaster Patch
By Nick Dorosheff
A small circle of tan cloth caught my eye
In a shoebox of odds and ends on its way
To a dumpster behind the resale shop.
Along the top edge and in the center
An embroidered eagle spread its wings
Upon a golden fluer-de-lis.
I turned it over and on the back in faded ink
The names of Scouters who must have worn this badge
Or so I thought. Dimmed by time and laundry
Names like Dennis Robertson, Tom Gustine, Craig Reichow,
Robert Carter, Jr., and Drew Mehan and
In slightly darker ink the name Vince Woo.
I did not recognize the names. They were from long ago,
But as I held this tattered piece of cloth
I imagined the hikes, the campouts,
The one pot meals they had eaten,
The Scoutmaster conferences and Scoutmaster Minutes.
Did they agonize over what words of wisdom
They would speak at the end of troop meetings?
Did they wonder if any of the Scouts would remember
One word of what they said? Probably not,
Since example is so much more powerful
Than mere words and they knew that truth.
I started to toss the old badge back into the shoebox,
But I stopped. After all don’t we have a way
To retire with honor Old Glory once she’s waved her last?
So, I made a small log-cabin-style box of twigs
And laid the Scoutmaster patch upon it
And lit a match.