The story goes, once with attraction,
Of great deeds and battles won.
Grand images sold as duty done,
Clean narration on lined pages.
Away with youth with marches high,
Incantations with the drum.
Off to some strange land with
Orders from stodgy old men.
The blast unseen fills the air,
Thunderous echoes back to deaf ears.
A shell of youth, all that remains.
Grieving friends about the grave,
Wonder for the early transition,
From youth to the elder memory.
Francis Conlon is a retired and recovering teacher. For the past 20 years, he has worked as a seasonal river ranger and boat inspector at Yampa River State Park in northwest Colorado. He has published in the local Valley Voice and in Westward Quarterly. He currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.