.           The Tower Assault    Graduation morning 1966


The forest green, mighty mass,

  the water tower, itís size was vast.


Studies, pains & years weíve done,

  day by day, like marching drum.

One conclusion, to it all led,

  to Graduation which we dread.


College apps had come & gone,

  seemed a quest like marathon.

Some accept, but some reject,

  hopes of future Ė imperfect !


Bantered by what powers tell,

  we raise our arms in rebel yell.

Thwarted minds in innocent,

  gather thoughts prevalent.


Devious plot,  spin a web,

  consume the thoughts in my head.

With plan of purpose, the seeds begin,

  what will or way can I win ?


A act defiance, fall in plummet,

  or strike out to highest summit,

Take a shot, make a mark,

  a powerful plan incites a spark !





The forest green, mighty mass,

  the water tower, itís height harass.


Day by day, she loomed tall,

  surveying hills and campus all.

Building roof tops, above the trees,

  all surrounding, the tower sees.


Daily traffic passes tower,

  sense itís pompous potent power.

Slick steel walls to mighty height,

  the campus whole is in its sight.


Time again, I wrestled plan,

  devise a way, take a stand.

Texture, details interweave,

  crafts & props to intercede.


How could I alone so reach,

  up so slick, the steely steep ?

Place my flag at highest mark,

  And be sheathed in blackness, dark.


Prove my feat, yet hide it well,

  save it deep for years to tell.

Some days later, my plans unfold,

  hear it now, cold and bold.






The forest green, a mighty mass,

  what person could it surpass ?


Under my bed, with thought & hope,

  I hide a bit of string and rope.

I don my cloak, at near midnight,

  with ball of twine, I make my flight.


Across the turf, in shadows sleuth,

  a path I weave, my steps are couth.

From walk to lawn, then hid by tree,

  seconds count, none should see.


Motions quick with silent step,

  for all this, was plan and prep.

I cross the campus, quiet, erect,

  none should see nor detect.


A step, then dash, my motion mix,

  a sudden sound, my eyes transfix.

Furtive trek, a random rove,

  From distant sound, to hedge I dove.


I lie still, silent breath,

  Wait to see if Iím detect.

None comes nor makes a sound,

  seems Iím clear, not yet found.



The forest green, mighty mass,

  like Goliath by a stone did pass.


The dark surrounds encompass me,

  across a clearing, Iím almost free.

Twenty paces then Iím there,

  looking up, I halt , I stare.


Three fathom up is first steel stair,

  a ladderís reach could get you there.

I alone, must bridge the gap,

  find a way, attach a strap.


The shiny steel is lofty, high,

  silhouette Ďgainst a starry sky.

The height to top is staggering,

  Iím humbled yet not swaggering.


My fingers fumble Ďlong the ground,

  snatch a rock, small and round.

I wind in string, I tie it fast,

  hurl to stars, my missile cast.


Arching high in itís flight,

  itís out of sight in the night.

It falls towards me, deadly weight,

  would it hit me, take my fate ?



The forest green, mighty mass,

  would this venture be my last ?


A pitch, a miss, a scuffled sound,

  projectile scuffles on the ground.

I reign in rock, and cast my missile,

  it pierces night, with wind whistle.


Airborne now, it misses mark,

  plummets down, danger, dark !

Fetching it, I try again,

  if only I could catch the rim.


Twice loop the sling from my wrist,

  rock & steel make a tryst !

This flight, itís line is better aimed,

  surges up towards steely frame.


A gong rebounds from mighty drum,

  my heart sinks, my bodyís numb.

Echoes cross the campus rung,

  my plot, my plan, am I undone ?


The clang explicates alarm,

  I start with fear, then disarm.

Distant steps approach my place,

  my heart leaps, my pulse a race.

Do they heard and come for me,

  my watch is keen, should I flee ?

Striking now, a casual poise,

  maybe theyíd not heard the noise ?

Rounding the corner, my comrades see,

  joking think they caught me.

ďSmoking here ?Ē, so they thought,

  Hiding here from being caught ?


The forest green, mighty mass,

  would this Ö ?


These sentries pass into night,

  my fear locked feet did not take flight.

Here beneath the darkened sky

  but hint of plot, none could descry.


If they tested, challenged me,

  what would they find for penalty ?

Only string had I and rock,

  no hint would they of my plot.


What evidence had they of plan,

  with nothing but sting in hand.

Who could sense itís fruition,

  see ambition, my volition ?


I turn again toward looming sky,

  cast my stone straight and high,

with twisting tail into night,

  it follows my will in this flight.


A bounce, a ring, the string clung,

  it falls within the first steel rung.

My scheme is set, I tie it fast,

  I hurry back to dorm at last.


The forest green, mighty mass,

  Davidís giant sleeps at last.



In his berth, my roommateís stir,

  will he wake and me deter ?

Stifled, still, I lay, stir not,

  am I foiled, am I caught.?


I stare deep towards his eyes,

  has he of me my plan descry ?

I think of Poeís Tale Tale Heart,

  I stare at him in the dark.


Silence sweeps over our room,

  over bearing, a sense of doom.

The clock clicks, counting time,

  Iím poised, ready, my scheme sublime.


My heartís a race, Ďtween sheets I slide.

  pretend to sleep, my eyes now hide.

ĎNeath my covers, my hands sweat,

  stratagem set, seems Iím sure bet.


Morning breaks, comes the dawn,

  eyes open wide, stretch and yawn.

I'm first up, resurrection day,

  look out across the morning gray.


The forest green, mighty mass,

  the water tower, I crack impasse !



I slip from sheets, in clothing still,

  my mindís alert, I sense a thrill.

I bow, bend, beneath bed grope,

  I take this time, my length of rope.


Moving silent in morning hour.

  I quickly steal to steely tower.

Silent, steady, I lower the weight,

  with rope, the string, I extricate.


Raising my rope, like hoisting flag,

  To win this day, Iíll ever brag.

Three fathoms up, the ropeís now hung,

  hanging from the ladderís first rung.


I scurry, scramble, stretch and touch,

  at edge of reach, I bravely clutch.

Chin up extreme, then foothold,

  cheek to steel, itís clammy and cold.


Daylight grows, soon people wake,

  move quickly, donít hesitate.

By the minute, I loose nightís cover,

  no time to pause, look or hover.



The forest green, mighty mass,

  the tower surveys over grass.



Climbing higher, more I see,

  yet those afar could now see me.

Higher I climb, rung by rung,

  reaching peak at morning Sun.


Campus view, majestic, grand,

  here Iíve come to take my stand.

Clinging here at break of day,

  to be unseen, I hope and pray.


A distant roar, a rush, a car,

  Breaks the silence from afar.

It stops near, slams a door,

  my tremble visible, I deplore.


Steps scuffle, closer come,

  I see beneath approaches one.

Itís cook to kitchen, at daybreak hour,

  he saunters beneath base of tower.


Will he see Ė my tale tale rope ?

  There it hangs, what a dope !

Will he notice, see and stop.

  turn to me at tower top ?


Staccato steps closer come,

  my tensed grip, turning numb.

I turn from him, ďDonít feel my stare,

  Walk ahead, donít see me there !Ē

One, two, I count, I gasp.

  listen still, til heís walks on past.

The forest green, mighty mass,

  A visionís hope, thru cameraís glass.




My tiny camera I retrieve,

  Iíve brought it here up my sleeve.

My aerial campus vantage port,

  all this, Iíve done, just for sport.


My countdown clock ever clicks,

  I must dismount, finish quick,

If others spy my rope at path,

  theyíd spot me high, incite their wrath.


What fate belies this simple prank ?

  Iíd fall from favor, lose class rank.

Defiant my act would expel me,

  diploma gone, then college degree.


My greater plot than simply make,

  tangible proof in pictures take.

But elude them to, so none detect,

  never consider, never suspect.


My camera careful I tuck in pocket,

  with zipper, I securely lock it.

From dizzy height, a long slide down,

  careful not to make a sound.



Descend from tower, now Iím brass

  I drop from climb, roll on to grass.




At last rung, I drop lead rope,

  leap to ground, roll down the slope.

Barely miss pavement where I land,

  a broken leg would me have brand.


Once on the ground, I quickly discard,

  the rope & string, the clues, the shard.

Back in my dorm, the film I mail,

  the evidence that proves travail.


From pant leg, I wipe the dirt,

  to hide a stain I change my shirt.

Clammy hands, in sink I wash,

  Clear my face, hide my gauche


To room exhausted, clothing shed,

  silently slid back into bed,

To awake much later in innocence

  no trace left of evidence.


Later afternoon - graduation day,

 in formal ceremony, Iím not betray.

On receiving diploma, I left the stage,

  some hear shriek, my pent up rage ?



The forest green, mighty mass,

  the water tower of my class.




Decades pass since Iíve been here,

  fate brings me back to Blair.

Among these halls and sacred wall,

  here I teethed my sense of gall !


Headmaster from my former time,

  incites me tell him of my crime.

ďYour years at Blair were reticent,

  had you ambitions youíd not spent ?í


I never thought that heís approve,

  but show him photos there to prove,

Disclosed details - graduation day,

  hear what thoughts he might say.


The silent ascent, my tower climb,

  the crux of act, my youthful crime.

I share with him my conquest,

  that níver before had I divest.


I thought from him a scold Iíd get,

  he mused ďIt be in criteria set.Ē

We laugh at energy, and the passion,

  rebellious years of youthful passing.


.    Reflection by Ted Elden

of his í66 Blair Academy, NJ graduation,

his last defiant act, risking his HS diploma, college degree, and planned future

by climbing the forbidden water tower.