Monday, April 8, 2013


©  Steve King
All rights reserved

Each note gathers
to lift the last song,
like bright birds at twilight
soon to shade gone.

Like the faint sound of cannon
now drawn to retreat,
or the old battle’s echo,
at last complete.

Like the voice of his captain,
the final command,
to call fallen comrades
from all the far lands.

Then the song slips to silence,
the flag put away;
the caisson stands ready
to carry the day.

He surrenders at last
to the earth’s warm embrace,
that impregnable bunker
no pains may displace.

(Note:  Reflections on the military funeral of Joseph F. Clancy, US Army
for Imaginary Gardens…)


  1. I like the whole structure of your poem. The title sets the scene in a single word, and each stanza conveys, not only the notes but the mournful mood of the piece. I love the successive similes in stanzas 2 and 3, and the conclusion is most touching.

  2. The cadence works perfectly here, Steve... you have painted a vivid picture of a military funeral.

  3. The flow of this piece is reverent, the diction and structure respectful. I'm not sure I've read a better telling of the playing of taps. So well done.

  4. reading you for the first time and loved the way you painted the picture..

  5. This has the classic feel such a subject invokes, a drumroll cadence, and a somber factual parade, all the words in funeral black uniform.

  6. A beautiful share Steve ~ I love the opening notes, then the simile of the cannon, captain's voice and then the silence ~ The reverence in the end is poignant ~

  7. The images you draw are well fitted for taps, somber and each adding to the occasion significance to the occasion.

  8. Somber and touching. A beautiful write.

  9. Moving and beautiful, Steve. I pictured the famous Brady civil war pix of the fallen here...and much more. and white poetry, beautifully done...I hear it, see it all.

  10. There's a beautiful, vibrant soul one moment, and the next simply a body. War is a soul-sucking enterprise...

    Your tribute to this fallen soldier is one of the best I've read, because it simply describes the heartbreaking last moments. I've been to too many military funerals, and that last note of Taps hanging on the breeze, echoing in our hearts.... Steve, I applaud you. Amy

  11. Terribly sad. There is a Whitmanesque quality to the piece. (I haven't seen the prompt, but you capture some of the terrible sadness of the funeral for any soldier.) Thanks so much. K.