Sonnet III: The Vigilant

“I teach the use of ordinance to boys.
It’s just a job, not so unlike your own.
I wake up every morning to the drone
Of my alarm, and teach them what destroys

“And kills. A job like yours,” he said, “employing
Skills ones discipline requires. Condone
The harm or not, my job inspires alone
Young men who sought this life. When mine deploys,

“We, rough and ready, make the day our own.”
“But can you quit?” I asked, “you’ve pledged to keep
It–like a wife–for better or for worse.”

“And, quit or fail, I won’t be sought nor thrown
In jail; nor watch my wife, from heaven, weep
Upon my empty coffin in a hearse.”

This sonnet is part of a short sequence; click here to read it all:


6 responses to “Sonnet III: The Vigilant

  1. From one November to another: Teach them well. Teach them to guard themselves and keep themselves from harm as they guard us and keep us from harm. I thank you and your young men for all you do. No one ever said life was going to be easy or free from pain and strife, but thank God for those who look hard in the eye and don’t back down. My papa taught me something he learned as a young man: do your job and do the best you can and never be ashamed.


    • The very best advice. I hope he will see this comment of yours. He is perhaps possessed of an even more romantic soul than am I–many real soldiers are, I think, perhaps most; however… he is not,(alas : ) crazy for sonnets; therefore we will give it 50/50 that he will or will not.


    • He does know how I feel. I have told him many times and in no uncertain terms. It is simply that his romanticism does not extend toward iambic pentameter at the present time. This does not offend me in the least : )


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