A Vintage Poem

So today is that day that I have to reach far back into prehistory in order to find a topic for my Camp NaNoWriMo blog post.  (Okay, you got me.  It’s not really prehistory.  It was only high school–1990 to be exact.  It only feels like prehistory.)

Military Operations of General Beauregard by Alfred Roman

This is the book cover that inspired the poem. Image: archive.org

In the spring of my sophomore year, our English teacher decided to do a couple of weeks of poetry writing as part of our coursework.  I was thrilled because I loved writing and that meant that we were finally getting a homework assignment that I actually wanted to do.

One of the poems I wrote was a little fragment about the gold leaf lettering on the cover of an old history book that we had a copy of at home.  I liked the idea of the poem, but it wasn’t very good.  I hung on to a copy of it, though.

When I got to college, I pulled the poem out again and reworked it for the college literary magazine.  It’s therefore one of the oldest pieces of my writing that I can easily lay my hands on, and I thought it would be fun to share it here.

Gold Leaf on an Elderly Book

The words, the bright letters of gold,
They shine across the dark green space;
A luster and a gleam as bright
As fire in a chimney-place.

The words resemble shooting stars–
A fleeting pyroclastic show
Which seems to last eternally
Yet Time still eats its afterglow.

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