For Pat and Christopher and Jynx
He would never quit the field early
Never resign his commission.
It must have been orders from higher up, that he was needed elsewhere.
But true leadership does not abandon
It minds the gap.
And so, mourned, lost, enshrouded though he is,
There is a certain thump, of paws hitting the floor.
When the only paws are in evidence here, not in the other room.
There is the gaze of an adversary tracked there, by the feline eyes here.
There is the sudden tail switch, as if an innocent butt very nearly received a velveted swat.
Clearly, someone has to direct the day. Water must be refreshed, food must be presented (although the boring kind), the servants must be driven to rise, to tend, to accommodate. Chairs, ledges, counters, stairs, must all be occupied in due course.
The campaign is carried on.
Leadership devolves to the previous, civilian government. Civility has its place, one supposes.
The martial calls fade, the brisk reviews of troops decline. The whole place goes back to torpid quiet.
To reading, to writing, to napping.
They do notice the void. They cannot help but listen for the lost voice, look for the errant paw, reach for the ambitious soul that stirred the place up.
The legion, stationed abroad, spreading the empire to the farthest reaches of the planet,
The legion retires his colors.
The legion sounds the mournful notes of farewell.
The legion passes in respectful review.
The legion acknowledges a return to civilian government
A proper dark attire, mourning, in place of bars of rank proudly displayed.
The legion will always remember.
We mind the gap.