John-Ward Leighton

TIME, GENTLEMAN, TIME
A poem to mark the passing of a comrade, Ken Kabal

That elusive element
never standing still
another comrade has passed away
almost as easily as the day.

The day, the day, the day,
refuses to stand still
and even as I stupidly watch
the words fade into the past.

And that which was first
becomes the last.
Elusive as the rhyme
in can turn on a penny or on a dime.

The singer echoes and echoes
but who knows where the song will go?
We are the creature of our machines
and nothing is quite like it seems.

In a picture from sixty three kneeling in the front rank
could that image have been me?
Fourth from the left in the back rank
gone from the picture now so I see.

He’s off to be Machine Gun Bill Fisher’s number two
and all of us will soon follow
to fill the dreams of memory and stories of lives well lived
then our ultimate demise is not so hard to swallow.

He passed from this mortal scene
in the hospital where I was born
and those scenes of joy
are now the ones we mourn.

Good-bye Ken, who knows if we will meet again.
Or what hills we have yet to climb
before the bartender of life says,
Time, gentlemen, time.

John-Ward Leighton: Ranks of the Legend
“Machine Gun” Bill Fisher is the man standing directly behind our kneeling platoon Sergeant,
Sgt. Jim Brewer, and I’m the Cpl. just to the left of Sgt Brewer