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Oct 2019 · 264
A Blue Blaze
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.
Aug 2019 · 402
Familiar
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.
Aug 2019 · 243
The Greatest of These
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.
Aug 2019 · 171
Look
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.
Aug 2019 · 139
Beloved
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.
Aug 2019 · 142
To a Deer
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.
Aug 2019 · 177
The Loan
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.
Aug 2019 · 143
The Sleep of Woodsmen
When evening finds me on some wooded rise,
Or else the level ground along a stream,
A heaviness descends upon my eyes
And Nature takes the semblance of a dream.
For I have known a peace beyond repose,
In rest unlike the comfort of a bed.
Though some men's brows are furrowed while they doze,
The woodsman's sleep is like that of the dead.
Go find a spot beneath the open sky,
And drape the night like blankets 'round your form!
The ground will be the couch where you will lie;
Though it be cold, the campfire-hearth is warm.
     Recline at ease in Mother Nature's arms,
    And be surrendered to her Morphean charms.
Copyright 2019 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"The Sleep of Woodsmen" was first published on July 11, 2019 by The Society of Classical Poets.
Jul 2019 · 213
Truth
One should wait to say
The really important things
Until the morning
And the first cup of coffee.
In espresso veritas.
Copyright 2019 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"Truth" was first published in issue 15 of 50 Haikus.
May 2019 · 1.5k
Partners in Crime
I come
To you today
With yet another scheme
For a wild, foolish adventure.
Coming?
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"Partners in Crime" was first published in volume 2, issue 8 of Gathering Storm Magazine.
Mar 2019 · 359
The Clockmaker
When I was young, I’d disassemble clocks
So I could understand what made them go.
With tools in hand, and pieces in a box,
I’d wonder, and I’d look, and then I’d know.
But lacking tools to take myself apart,
I understand myself through what I’m told,
And one friend told me I am young at heart—
Another said my soul is very old.
If I can trust them both (I think I can),
Then I have been—repaired, or else restored.
Is it sometimes the lot of broken man
To go back to the workshop of the Lord?
     Some say that Great Clockmaker stands aloof,
     But I know otherwise—and I’m the proof!
Copyright 2019 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"The Clockmaker" was originally published on February 8, 2019 by The Society of Classical Poets.
Feb 2019 · 187
Anticipation
Since dawn
I've been sitting
In this boat, eagerly
Longing for the line's twitch that says
"Breakfast!"
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"Anticipation" was first published in the fourth collection of The Wire's Dream Magazine.
Feb 2019 · 187
Phantoms
Alone in the woods,
I rest and smoke my cob pipe—
But am I alone?
Wreaths of white smoke surround me;
The forest seems full of wraiths.
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"Phantoms" was first published in the fourth collection of The Wire's Dream Magazine.
Dec 2018 · 173
The Calling
The Calling comes at different times to each,
And will be heard by eager souls who yearn
For something great to be, or do, or learn.
My Calling, when I heard it, was to teach.
What lofty heights of knowledge one might reach!
For questions, kindled, can forever burn
And light the way for thought, which may, in turn,
Give birth to noble action and fair speech.

But if I fail, my students also fall!
And so my constant fear is that I may
Confound my pupils with my rambling words.
To those placed in my care I'll give my all.
God grant that I might have the words to say!
God help me to protect these fledgling birds.
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"The Calling" was first published in volume XXII of Torrid Literature Journal.
Dec 2018 · 153
The Old-Fashioned Way
Just like they used to,
When your daddy was a boy,
Do things the right way.

Let your yes be yes—
But if you make a promise,
Keep it with your life.

Don't be impudent.
Respect the gray-headed ones.
Help them cross the street.

Don't wait 'til things break.
Trust in God, but change your oil.
Sharpen your pen-knife.

Get out the whetstone.
Fix up that dull edge right now,
Else it might cut you.

Don't waste and don't want.
Disposable is shameful.
Refill the Zippo.

Keep your two dollars.
Brew your own coffee at home.
Grind the beans yourself.

Say grace, and then eat.
What we have is good enough—
More than we deserve.
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"The Old-Fashioned Way" was first published in volume XXII of Torrid Literature Journal.
Sep 2018 · 325
Apology to an Old Friend
I swore I’d keep in touch with you—
I crossed my heart and hoped to die.
I meant it, so it was no lie,
But as you know, it wasn’t true.
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"Apology to an Old Friend" was first published on August 21, 2018 by The Society of Classical Poets.
Sep 2018 · 264
Exodos, Prologos
To the Class of 2018

In times uncertain, ask your truest friends
For counsel, and take all they say to heart—
But know that we are bound for different ends,
And none but you can learn and play your part.
Some friend may say, “To thine own self be true,”
But “thine own self” is not a thing of stone.
And who can say what time will do to you?
Reflect, and you will see how you have grown
And changed, from year to year and day to day,
In ways, perhaps, that only you can see;
We’ve gathered here to send you on your way,
And only you can say what that will be.
     Be hungry for whatever lies in store,
     And make it greater than what came before.
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

“Exodos, Prologos” was first published on August 21, 2018 by The Society of Classical Poets.  It was subsequently re-published in their annual journal for 2019.
Jul 2018 · 1.4k
Estate Sale
After Robert Frost


What is this venerable, hard-used tool? What is it for?
It lies inert, its days of usefulness over: gone with the thought,
The informed, actionable thought, of the father. The son doesn't know what he has,
But with a sad look, he says he will be happy to sell it to you: "For a—"
(Here he hesitates) "—two dollars." He also points out a handsome pair
Of gold-colored cufflinks. He doesn't know what they are made of.
You wish you could meet the father and go out with him on the Dauntless
(“Boat For Sale”) but spirit and thought have been borne away on angels' wings.
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"Estate Sale" was first published in volume 3, issue 2 of The Ibis Head Review.
May 2018 · 1.5k
An Understatement
Tonight: me and you,
On the lake, in a canoe.
Oh, yes—that would do.
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"An Understatement" was first published in volume 6 of Sincerely Magazine.
May 2018 · 2.0k
A Rounded Stone
He pressed a rounded stone into my hand.
He said, "Take care of this," and turned away
To tend to things we needed for our trip:
The boats, the lines, the paddles, and the rest.

The stone was not like those about my feet.
I wondered at the stone, but not for long.
I put it in my pocket and forgot.

The Huzzah winds along a valley floor
Between thick stands of trees and rocky bluffs.
Its water is a marvel to behold,
Like crystal ichor flowing in God's veins.
I thought of all these things, and not the stone,
But in my pocket it was safe and sound.

And that was well, for when we came ashore
My uncle asked me for the rounded stone.
He placed it on the bank beside its twin.

"As easy as it was for you," he said,
"To bring this back to where I picked it up,
So light you sit within your Maker's hand.
The stone was not aware you carried it,
And sometimes we are just the same. But He
Is wise, and kind, and big and strong enough
To bring you safely to your journey's end.
We're going where we came from." So he said.

I miss him, but I know we'll meet again.
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

“A Rounded Stone” was first published on April 3, 2018 by The Society of Classical Poets.  It was subsequently re-published in their annual journal for 2019.
Apr 2018 · 257
On Leaving My House
The fires are out; the lamps are snuffed.
The door is locked; I've done enough.
I give my house and all my pelf
To God Almighty, who Himself
Will keep it safe or let it go.
The future is not mine to know.
And as 'twas said by God's own Son,
"Lord, not my will, but Thine be done."
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

"On Leaving My House" was first published in issue 3 of The Mystic Blue Review.
Apr 2018 · 401
An Old Roadbed
This was a road; an old map told me so.
A trail, I’d say, and sometimes less than that.
It’s hard to walk, and harder still to know.

It started as an even bed of chat.
A mile beyond the gate, it turned to clay,
And here the leaves have not been trampled flat.

I look between the trees to guess my way:
Among the oaks, a space one wagon wide.
Who drove here? Are their sons alive today?

And can I rightly say the old map lied?
The future’s not what maps are made to show.
Life’s like this road—it cannot be denied:

The way’s less clear the further in you go.
It’s hard to walk, and harder still to know.
Copyright 2018 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.

“An Old Roadbed” was first published in volume 2, issue 1 of Edify Fiction.

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