A note from the poet: “Taps” was written in 1972 based on my experiences of playing for military funerals while a member of the 60th Army Band, Ft. Polk, Louisiana. I often played from a position that was “semi-hid.” I would be off to the side, often near a tree. The original poem is male-oriented in keeping with the era in which it was written.
“TAPS,” by Bill Charles:
The solitary bugler stands apart, afar, an introspective harbinger of grief.
His presence hid from eyes but not from ears, his notes bespeak a universal fate.
The straining eyes seek out his silhouette; the ears seek out his sounds o’er sobs and groans—
The eyes oft times rewarded with a glimpse, the ears with distant melancholy tones.
It seems until that trumpet of despair is sounded that the man cannot be gone,
But as the natural melody dies away, then all concede, reality has won.
Another man has left this vale of tears to music sounded in a major key,
A corpse to sleep the sleep of sleeps for now, in patient death to sleep until the day
When yet another trumpeter shall come to undo deeds of buglers of the past,
Confound our worldly wisdom right and left,
And summon last and first and first and last.