(12/20/1942) The Long Watch

The Long Watch
You stand your post in eerie still,
The night moves slowly on,
Above the hill
The moon is chill;
You’re waiting for the dawn.

The plain below is lost in sleep,
The sombre rocks are old,
The snow is deep
Where shadows creep
And, somehow, very cold.

But in that endless time you stand
‘Tween midnight and the day
You try your hand
To understand
Why war should come your way.

You think of Home, and what it meant
To leave the ones you love;
The song you sent
When Holy Lent
Proclaimed the World above.

You think of little things we know
That make us what we are
A guy named Joe,
A movie show,
Or working on your car.

At times it seems but yesterday
That Mother’s cheeks were wet
With tears that lay,
And seemed to say,
“My son, please don’t forget.”

Or then again it’s Father, who
With voice so gruff and slow
Was proud of you;
It thrilled him through
To see you turn and go.

This is that private history
A man may not confide.
But memory
For company
Will keep him warm . . . inside.

— Grady L. McMurtry

Note: Originally published in Thelema Lodge Calendar, February 1995.