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The Old Veteran

Once within his grinding life
He’d had a chance at distant deeds
That had no hint of daily strife,
 
Of sticking doors, tenacious weeds,
Of time cards, office drudgery,
Wife’s complaints and children’s needs.
 
For now he had a chance to be
Allied with total righteousness,
Heroic to state and deity.
 
Women, too weak to stand the stress,
Had copiously wept as he entrained,
Wept at stoic selflessness.
 
No matter the danger, real or feigned;
No matter if panicked or nobly inspired;
Mere presence at that time remained
 
A thing to be forever admired,
And he remains no clerk or plumber;
He is Parsifal retired.

(1997)

rinted witrh permission of "Lyric,"Vol. 77

Traditional character study

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