Last May, I wrote a story about Jerry Welch, the owner of American Decor in Hannibal, who also is a prolific poet and children’s author. I posted a clip on this blog of Welch reciting his children’s poem “Illume and the Moon.” Another local poet stumbled across that post and commented with some verse of his own about an erstwhile Hannibal landmark, the water tower at Pleasant Street and Country Club Drive that was torn down a few years ago.
With his permission, I’m reprinting the poem Robert Winthrop wrote in that comment. Enjoy!
The Old Water Tower
Ay! Tear the water tower down
That stood on Pleasant Street.
A landmark generations old,
A memory so sweet.
They say its time has come and gone;
It’s old and past its prime.
Like some old beauty, paint and care
Can’t stop the March of Time.
But does it not deserve to live
For service long and true,
A reservoir for God’s pure wine,
A beacon ever new?
Could any skinny cell-phone tower
Replace its sturdy grace,
Its symmetry, its criss-cross legs,
It’s seeming sense of place?
What boy did not a challenge find
To climb its lofty height
To write his class’ logo
One silent, springtime night?
What weary walker has not gauged
His progress up the hill
By distance from its silv’ry peak
And gained a renewed will?
Would Pisa let its tower fall
Like Babel into dust?
Would France turn Eiffel into scrap,
A twisted pile of rust?
Will we, a “white town drowsing,”
Let go another prize
And only realize too late
Through rueful, teary eyes?