The Land | The Lamp Post | Spring 2020 - Montreat College
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The Land

By: Ian Galey

My father, dear and gracious to a fault,
Ere I was a walking child would take me
On his lap and rumble softly from his heart,
“My child, if only England you could see
The way the birds and bees and trees shift fairly
In the morning breeze of spring’s first golden days,
Then you would know, the love I bear
For this green country fair
Then you would glimpse the love and care
That extends from it to thee: the fruit of peace,
The offspring of a generous land.”

When I could walk and run and sing
And see the dances of the spring in living bloom,
My father with the oddest smile would kneel
In front of me, and shouldering me with his hand
Would say quite raspily, “My son, for you—
Tis for you, that war calls me from home;
I’m fighting for the silver mists that roll
About the rounded hills of newly wedded green,
To see you running with a stick across the dewy morn;
I will strive to see thee live and well
And with every beat in me, shall come to see
A land, a home, where happy you could be.”

I saw him not until one day, I laid him in the ground;
Returned he was to this sweet plot, to rest in holy peace,
But ne’er again to see the spot where earth and wood and tree
Marked the boundaries of a thought, a thought both fair and free.

Some winters passed with bittering cold,
Alas the days grow thin.
No mind, no fault, no seeping grin
Could turn me from my thoughts within
Of vengeance hot, without success and far be it from nobleness.
But vengeance dies like fire, with little fuel to feed;
The land, the plot, where ere I thought
Would I and my father be
Was overgrown but no forlorn,
And so to work I set, to shape the ground
And soon I found, how generous land could be.

A call again from England, to pull me from my land,
But now I answered without thought,
How could I allow this plot, to be the spot where I do rot
As mounters o’er the mounts ascend and trample father dear.
I laid me down on this sweet ground and prayed for every tree,
The plot of plenty, the silent home, the land laid down for me.
Sometime had passed and return I did to father’s hallowed hearse;
They lay me down, as I laid down my life from birth to earth.

Spring 2020 Issue