“Old Apple Trees”
Like battered old mill hands, they stand in the orchard—
Like drunk legionnaires, heaving themselves up,
Lurching to attention. Not one of them wobbles
The same way as another. Uniforms won’t fit them—
All those cramps, humps, bulges. Here, a limb’s gone;
There, rain and corruption have eaten the whole core.
They’ve all grown too tall, too thick, or too something,
Like men bent too long over desks, engines, benches,
Or bent under mailsacks, under loss.
They’ve seen too much history and bad weather, grown
Around rocks, into high winds, diseases, grown
Too long to be willful, too long to be changed….
All who serve and have served, in every way, we salute you.