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Poetry Friday: For Randy Wilson

Jake Bacon

It’s been almost a week since Randy Wilson, longtime editor of the Arizona Daily Sun, died unexpectedly at the age of 65. During his 23 years at the newspaper, he was a mentor to chief photographer, Jake Bacon, who is, of course, grappling with the loss. In this week’s Poetry Friday, Jake reads Thomas Mordaunt’s "The Call" in Randy’s honor.

Jake Bacon:

There’s been a lot written and talked about Randy since his untimely death on Saturday, about his personality, how dedicated he was to the community, to covering life and the stories that make this community unique. You know, he could be pedantic. He could be stubborn. He could drive you absolutely crazy. But at the same time, he was the person who was the king of second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth chances and was incredibly loyal to the people that worked for him.

So, the poem that I’ve chosen to read is "The Call" by Mordaunt. He wrote it during the Seven Years’ War, 1756 to 1763. He was a British Army officer. "The Call" for me is really 14 stanzas of very old, very fruity language that are wrapped around the one stanza that I first stumbled across—and you’ll know it when you hear it—is what speaks to me about loss.

Credit Jake Bacon

"The Call" by Thomas Mourdaunt

Go, lovely boy! to yonder tow'r

The fane of Janus, ruthless King!

And shut, O! shut the brazen door,

And here the keys in triumph bring.

Full many a tender heart hath bled,

Its joys in Belgia's soil entomb'd:

Which thou to Hymen's smiling bed,

And length of sweetest hours had doom'd.

Oh, glory! you to ruin owe

The fairest plume the hero wears:

Raise the bright helmet from his brow;

You'll mock beneath the manly tears.

Who does not burn to place the crown

Of conquest on his Albion's head?

Who weeps not at her plaintive moan,

To giver her hapless orphans bread?

Forgive, ye brave, the generous fault,

If thus my virtue falls; alone

My Delia stole my earliest thought,

And fram'd its feelings by her own.

Her mind so pure, her face so fair;

Her breast the seat of softest love;

It seemed her words an angel's were,

Her gentle percepts from above.

My mind thus form'd, to misery gave

The tender tribute of a tear:

O! Belgia, open thy vast grave,

For I could pour an ocean there.

When first you show'd me at your feet

Pale liberty, religion tied,

I flew to shut the glorious gate

Of freedom on a tyrant's pride.

Tho great the cause, so wore with woes,

I can not but lament the deed:

My youth to melancholy bows,

And Clotho trifles with my thread.

But stop, my Clio, wanton muse,

Indulge not this unmanly strain:

Beat, beat the drums, my ardor rouse,

And call the soldier back again.

Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife,

Throughout the sensual world proclaim,

One crowded hour of glorious life

Is worth an age without a name.

Go then, thou little lovely boy,

I can not, must not, hear thee now;

And all thy soothing arts employ

To sooth my Delia of her wo.

If the gay flow'r, in all its youth,

Thy scythe of glory here must meet;

Go, bear my laurel, pledge of truth,

And lay it at my Delia's feet.

Her tears shall keep it ever green,

To crown the image in her breast;

Till death doth close the hapless scene,

And calls its angel home to rest.

Gillian Ferris was the News Director and Managing Editor for KNAU.
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