This poem is about my father, Larry L. Stone, who was editor of the Central City, Kentucky, Times-Argus, from 1949 to 1993.
Laconic is a word you taught me
telling me the story of its origins
in Laconia where Spartans
were people of few words
and men of action soldiers
who needed few words to kill.
You wrote your brief epitaph
and summed up a life
as Editor, Soldier, Miner
but a life edited in three words
is written only as an editorial
by an epitaphic editor of headstones.
As a miner your underground stint
before marching off to college
was as concise as your self-definition
but at that time you would not know
about the other two parts of yourself
that would appear in headstone headline.
As soldier during that European war
you bivouacked at the castle with wine keg
so large with dance floor on top
on your way to become soldier-editor
of the Army newspaper
writing terse headlines of battles.
Returned from war you were verbose
as stressed soldier and toasting editor
spewing linotype words of molten metal
not to be proofed until later
when a short life was editorialized
in three-word headstone headline.
As miner of words editorializing soldiers
as soldier battling word demons
but in the end as epitaphic editor
you had the last line
writing your own headline