Lewis B. Taylor, R.I.P.
THE OLD VETERAN
I was born in this house on a country lane
that has become a four-lane pavement
across fields my ancestors cleared
and my father farmed during all his years.
I have lived my years in this self-same house
at peace with all men, except when called to war
to defend the land my forebears built.
I was proud to fight, preserving the land I knew.
Now, I die in a land I do not know.
This is not the land my father built.
It is not the land I fought to save.
It is a foreign land, with ways I cannot comprehend.
Is it the fate of generations
to die in lands they never knew?
--Lewis B. Taylor, from Lees in the Pail, 2009
ON THE COPTS IN EGYPT
All light is lovely in darkness.
A candle can be a beacon on a starless night.
They who trim the flickering wicks
May light a whole land.
One who travels in reflected brilliance
Never knows the worth of one long candle.
Then, moving from light to darkness,
He gropes to find familiar forms.
Holding no candle of his own, he gropes.
And then at last he sees.
The source of brilliance is the shining of a million candles
Each held proudly high
By solitary trimmers of wicks.
--Lew Taylor, from Drippings in the Pail, 1995
de TOCQUEVILLE WAS RIGHT
Will prosper until they
Vote themselves money from public
Saw it clearly,
A vociferous few
Can make themselves more equal than
--Lew Taylor, from Cinquains Caught in my Pail, 1998
AT THE FIFTIETH REUNION
(of the Class of '47, U. S. Naval Academy)
has seen a life of forty-thousand years
nurtured from more than eight-hundred roots,
each anchored here in honored ground.
Uncommon men united in common cause,
gathered from around the earth,
began here the voyage of The Class;
a voyage on eight-hundred compass headings
that embarked from our hallowed yard fifty years ago.
Mystic ties unseen join this now-shrinking band.
So long as survivors range the earth
they are The Class, wherever each may be.
There will be no new recruits.
And the loss of each man in his turn is mourned
in each remaining heart.
bound these men with lines too strong for breaking.
The link in the chain has been tested:
it beareth the strain.
--Lew Taylor, from Leaked from the Pail, 2003
c 2017 PL
c 2017 PL