Harvey Taylor is my choice as Milwaukee’s poet laureate. If Harvey has a web site I will try to find the link. Meanwhile here is a soulfull poem Harvey wrote. I call it Harvey Taylor’s Love Poem to Our Lake.

This is an updated version of Harvey’s poem, which has been recorded and is available in cd form.

I Mean No Disrespect

I mean no disrespect to Veterans by my strong conviction that
our precious lakefront is the wrong parking spot for
an obsolete naval vessel.

When I say ‘precious lakefront,’ I speak as someone who for many years
has sailed on the lake, swam in the lake, ridden a bicycle and hiked along the lake,
enjoyed picnics at beaches, made sandcastles with children,
thrown driftwood into the water for dogs to retrieve…

and I also speak as a longshoreman who works

aboard freighters at the port of Milwaukee…

I mean no disrespect…quite the opposite.

My father was a naval officer, and served in the Naval Reserve until retirement…
the flag given to my family by the government, when my father died,
to honor his service, is in my keeping, and is very meaningful to me…
I certainly mean no disrespect to my father’s memory, or his brave,
routine heroism, or anyone else who honorably served their country
when it was genuinely imperiled—

not manipulated into a catastrophe.

I honestly think that as a people we need to
stop glorifying war, and remember that
each war is the result of great failures, and
is the cause of great loss of life, and
terrible suffering, each casualty,
a tragic betrayal of creative potentials.

I mean no disrespect when I say that I hope the discussion and debate
generated by this issue inspires our citizenry to deeply ponder
what the real needs of the community are.

As for me, I need to see un-obstructed sunrises,
to inspire me to envision new possibilities,
not have my sojourns in the vicinity of the lake
dominated by the sight of a monument to failure.

We already have enough of those; go to the military cemeteries,
to see monuments to the true consequences of war…

I support the preservation of
the historic Soldier’s Home and grounds,
near the VA hospital, and
finding suitable purposes for its use,
as a memorial to the madness of war,
and center of research for its prevention.

Once again, to emphasize, I mean no disrespect to Veterans by my strong conviction
that our precious lakefront is the wrong anchorage for an obsolete naval vessel.

I mean no disrespect.

Harvey Taylor
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
January 19, 2005

This is the original that was printed and distributed to some of the 900 souls who showed up at the hearing.

I Mean No Disrespect
I mean no disrespect to Veterans of any war by my strong conviction that
our precious lakefront is the wrong parking spot for
an obsolete naval vessel hopeful of avoiding the scrapyard.

No, I mean no disrespect.

When I say ‘precious lakefront,’ I speak as someone who for many years
has sailed on the lake, swam in the lake, ridden a bicyle and hiked along the lake,
enjoyed picnics at beaches, made sandcastles with children,
thrown driftwood into the water for dogs to retrieve…

and I also speak as a longshoreman who works

aboard freighters at the port of Milwaukee.
The idea of permanently siting a large ship inside the breakwater
makes about as much sense to me as leaving a big rock in one’s bathtub.

I mean no disrespect…quite the opposite.

My father was a naval officer, and served in the Naval Reserve until retirement…
the flag given to my family by the government, when my father died,
to honor his service, is in my keeping, and is very meaningful to me…
I certainly mean no disrespect to my father’s memory, or his brave,
routine heroism, or anyone else who honorably served their country
when it was genuinely imperiled, not manipulated into a catastrophe.

I honestly think that as a people we need to
stop glorifying war, and remember that
each war is the result of great failures, and
is the cause of great loss of life, and
terrible suffering, each casualty,
a tragic betrayal of creative potentials.

I mean no disrespect when I say that I hope the discussion and debate
generated by this issue inspires our citizenry to deeply ponder
what the real needs of the community are.

As for me, I need to see un-obstructed sunrises,
to inspire me to envision new possibilities,
not have my sojourns near, on, in, and around the lake
dominated by the sight of a monument to failure.

We already have enough of those; go to the military cemeteries,
to see monuments to the true consequences of war…

I support the preservation of
the historic Soldier’s Home and grounds,
near the VA hospital, and
finding suitable purposes for its use,
as a memorial to the madness of war,
and center of research for its prevention.

I mean no disrespect to Veterans of any war by my strong conviction that
our precious lakefront is the wrong parking spot for an obsolete naval vessel.

No, I mean no disrespect.

-Harvey Taylor
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
January 17, 2005

Last edited by Tyler Schuster. Based on work by TeganDowling and g.  Page last modified on April 18, 2008

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