The Last Watch

Received a prompt from dVerse Poets Pub a few minutes ago, inviting poets to write and submit a poem about one of the awesome pictures provided by Reena Walkling at Missing Moments. One look at her photo titled, Pompei, and the following poem came pouring from my pen… er, um… keyboard. I hope you find it enjoyable!

The Last Watch


They stood watch

O’er the last park

Stoic and tall

Armor chinked and discolored


Silently they stood

Bravely they watched


Yet daunting


Many years they’d


Never once leaving

Their appointed duty


Not knowing

Those who’d bid them


Would not return



A thing not known

To silent sentries

Made of stone

Photo ~ Pompei by Reena

Copyright © 2012 C. Mashburn


  1. Oooh I like this…and that last stanza…wow! I really liked this picture, it can take you on many different turns. Nice!

    • Thank you very much, Diane! I like this picture, too. It really jumped out at me.

  2. mmm nice on the silent sentries…i wonder just what will survive us as well after our time….to stand watch….this series of pics really grabbed me as well…and thinking on what happened there….nice charles…

    • That’s where my mind went too, Brian–it goes there often these days.
      Thanks for the great comment!

  3. Grace said

    I like the silent sentries…creative take on the picture….great to see you at D’verse ~

  4. seingraham said

    So like trees, columns never really know when to give up the ghost, do they? A very nice poem Charles …

  5. Love that last stanza.

    • Me too! I didn’t make it rhyme on purpose, but it seems to work.
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

  6. This was a great one, to give feelings and stature to ancient pillars, well done.

    • Thank you very much! it just seemed to roll that way.
      I appreciate the visit and comment!

  7. A great capture of the picture… love that they are sentinels never leaving their duty.

  8. hiroshimem said

    I love how your poem conveys the sense of heroism. And I love that word, “dereliction”, that always makes me think of relics in delirium :)

    • Yes! That was the feeling I had when writing this. A sense of pride and accomplishment!
      Thanks for the great comment!

  9. nice job sir. good stuff

  10. ManicDdaily said

    Very lovely, Charles. Actual one of my favorites of yours. Sad, but stately. Good job. K.

  11. wcg1670 said

    history never sleeps…the deaf may not hear them, but the voice of then speaks on…we need to listen more


  12. Shawna said

    A thing not known
    To silent sentries
    Made of stone” … nice ending, Charles

  13. terri0729 said

    Oh, I really liked this one Charlie!! Well done :)

  14. oceangirl said

    I am enjoying this prompt because I can understand the poems based on the picture, and to discover the different takes. Never once leaving their appointed duty, somehow that is rather poignant to me.

    • Yes, the pictures do addto the poems, sometimes in a startling way. Many good poems being posted with these photos!
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

  15. claudia said

    very cool…
    Many years they’d
    Never once leaving
    Their appointed duty…this could serve as a great metaphor as well..

    • I agree, and it was in my mind as I wrote this.
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Claudia!

  16. Great metaphor- the columns as soldiers. I think your form and use of words evoked a real sense of history- tradition almost. Really liked the idea of columns as sentries- makes me think about all of the other silent guardians in the world who look over us.

    • I was struck by the grass–the park–the columns surround. It evoked an image of a park once filled with children and parents, never to be used again.
      Thanks for the visit and thought-filled comment, Stu. Very much appreciated!

  17. Sherry Mashburn said

    If only they could speak, what tales would we hear . . .

  18. hedgewitch said

    You give those columns a real personality here–and that perfectly straight line does make one think of a line of sentinels, their purpose gone but duty unchanged. Enjoyed it Charles.

  19. Chazinator said

    Wow, so well chiseled in words like the words on ancient arches. You really caught the spirit of the photo as well, I think, as of the columns themselves. I haven’t been to any classical sites yet, but have admired the civilizations from words and history for most of my life. Your finely hewn words nicely memorialize what I understand of their meaning and often, sadly, of the imperial import. I admire, though, the tone of respect that your words convey, since one must respect the achievements of the human spirit as well. Stoic in nature, though, I think your poem also resonates with the recognition of how time brings to ruin all such human undertaking.

    • I love the way you see all this in the poem, Charles. Makes feel as though I did a good job telling what I saw in the picture.
      Thank you very much for the thought-filled comment!

  20. zongrik said

    i like how you see the columns a sentinels

    private dreamliner

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