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Upon this ancient hickory, there is a blaze of blue.
To guess the meaning of this paint is more than I can do.
It does not seem to mark a trail; there are no other signs,
And blue is not the proper hue to mark one’s boundary lines.
What errand was the painter on? Who made this mark, and why?
And who can follow where he led?
Can anyone?
Can I?
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

“A Blue Blaze” was first published in volume 13, issue 2 of The Road Not Taken.
I hear
All the old things
Calling with sweet voices.
I didn’t think I missed them, but
I did.
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"Familiar" was first published in issue 26 of Adelaide Literary Magazine.
The talking heads will babble
And weigh you down with trouble
And fill you with dismay,
But do not heed the pundits
For trouble has its limits
And Love can win the day.

For Love, dear friend, is stronger
Than hatred, greed, or anger,
And more to be revered
Than wisdom, wealth, or courage—
Than power, strength, or knowledge—
And never to be feared.

It won’t be comprehended;
It cannot be demanded,
Yet it is free to all.
It wears the oldest mantle,
And though its mien is gentle,
Its subjects are in thrall.

For Love is God’s own essence!
To Love we owe obeisance,
And how can we refuse?
So be you saint or sinner,
Take up Love’s splendid banner
And go and spread the news.

Go forth and love your neighbors!
Go fan the dormant embers!
It has been said before:
That Love, dear friend, is stronger
Than prejudice or anger
And Love must win the war.
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"The Greatest of These" was first published in issue 26 of Adelaide Literary Magazine.
A well-worn game trail,
Long used by deer and rabbits,
Has been rudely blocked

By an old cedar.
Time and disease wasted it
And its roots gave way.

See, here, what is left
Of its long, feathered branches:
Spikes, long as my hand!

The deer do not mind,
For their legs are long enough
To step over it.

But the poor rabbits—
See by their tracks, here, and here—
Must all turn aside.

For it is too tall
To safely leap over it.
Look: one of them tried.

His blood stains this branch,
Dry, but still brilliant crimson,
In a wreath of fur.

What was chasing him?
He thought, on the open trail,
He could outrun it.

Perhaps he could have,
Were it not for this blockade.
What a wicked end!

And just to this side
The trunk is bare of branches.
He could have made it.

He missed by inches
And paid for it with his life.
Look before you leap.
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"Look" was first published in issue 26 of Adelaide Literary Magazine.
To know you is to love you.
What a blessing it is
That you are mine!
While I breathe, I am yours.

To know you is to love you.
I know you better than anyone,
And so I love you in equal measure.
I’ll love you still more, someday.

Every day I see more clearly
What a blessing it is
That my soul is bound to yours
With links forged in Heaven.

Not a day goes by
That I don’t thank God
That you are mine
To have and to hold.

I don’t know where life will lead,
But I know who will go with me.
Whatever else may happen,
While I breathe, I am yours.
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"Beloved" was first published in issue 26 of Adelaide Literary Magazine.
By what right do I take your life today?
Your flesh and blood are not unlike my own.
The same Hand made us both, and gave to you
More grace of form and motion than to me.
It is by reason of that grace you live
Not only in the forests of this world,
But also in the hearts and minds of men—
In history, in legend, and in song.

Your name was often on King David’s lips—
But then again, he sang of hunters too.
And many generations earlier,
God said to Noah that all moving things
Were food for man—and after David’s time,
He spoke to Peter, saying, “****, and eat!”

By what right does the wolf feed on your kind?
By what right does the cat devour the bird?
To live is to be hungry, and if you
Had fangs and claws, you would not feed on grass.

If honor is a thing that you can know,
I hope that you will see some honor in
The great pains I must take to bring you down.
There is no wrath or greed in what I do.
We must all die someday, and I will strive
To make this death the best one you could have—
And you, as all your ancestors have done,
Will live on in the hearts and minds of men.

Your life will nourish mine, and I will try,
As I have always done, to live a life
Deserving of what God has given me.
And now, farewell—I send you to your rest.
Copyright 2019 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"To a Deer" was first published on July 11, 2019 by The Society of Classical Poets.
This life we hold so dear is but a loan.
For good or ill, its balance must be spent,
For life is not a thing that we can own.

The wasting of our fragile flesh and bone
Is not within our power to prevent.
This life we hold so dear is but a loan—

But brevity of life, which some bemoan,
Should but lend urgency to what is lent,
For life is not a thing that we can own.

Remember what you planted—what has grown?
It comes of what you’ve done, not what you meant.
This life we hold so dear is but a loan—

You cannot reap what you have never sown!
Waste not another day! Turn and repent,
For life is not a thing that we can own.

Spend life on those you love, or die alone—
And wonder, at the end, where it all went!
This life we hold so dear is but a loan,
For life is not a thing that we can own.
Copyright 2019 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"The Loan" was first published on July 11, 2019 by The Society of Classical Poets.
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