“Ticonderoga #2”

Volume 8 | Spring 2018

by Patrick Walsh

When I was a sparkling little lad,
Full of mischief and delight,
They put a pencil in my hands
And taught me how to write.

Ticonderoga No. 2,
What a magic moment when I met you:
Like a key to a door between the world and a boy,
Now I could write what I knew—
That Ticonderoga No. 2
Was better than any toy.

Then I joined a Little League team
With a scuffed baseball and my mitt;
They put a bat in my hands
And taught me how to hit.

One day I smacked a home run
Way down the first base line;
Soon I put aside homework
And left that pencil behind.

Older now and grown fit to fight
I joined the Army, as young men will.
They put a rifle in my hands
And taught me how to kill.

Though war was never declared,
Blood flowed and bullets whined;
I forgot about the diamond
And left that Louisville Slugger behind.

A booby trap blew off my leg,
I got to fly in a Blackhawk;
They put a pair of crutches in my hands
And taught me how to walk.

Physical therapy and counseling
Took up most of my time.
I was fitted with a prosthesis
And left that M-16 behind.

How I wish I’d never seen a gun,
I wish that road hadn’t been mined,
I wish I could swing the bat and run
And leave these crutches behind.

But I still have both my hands
And there’s writing to be done,
Letters to the President,
My Senators and Congressman.

Ticonderoga No. 2,
After all these years I’ve come back to you.
They say the pen is mightier than the sword—
A pencil will have to do
Because a Ticonderoga No. 2
Is all a one-legged man can afford.