Monday, May 30, 2005

What like a bullet can undeceive!

OK, two more, because I can't resist. These are poems from a different war, though, so they get their own post.

"Shiloh, A Requiem" by Herman Melville

SKIMMING lightly, wheeling still,
The swallows fly low
Over the fields in clouded days,
The forest-field of Shiloh--
Over the field where April rain
Solaced the parched one stretched in pain
Through the pause of night
That followed the Sunday fight
Around the church of Shiloh--
The church so lone, the log-built one,
That echoed to many a parting groan
And natural prayer
Of dying foemen mingled there--
Foemen at morn, but friends at eve--
Fame or country least their care:
(What like a bullet can undeceive!)
But now they lie low,
While over them the swallows skim,
And all is hushed at Shiloh.

"War is Kind" by Stephen Crane
Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind.
Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky
And the affrighted steed ran on alone,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment, Little souls who thirst for fight, These men were born to drill and die. The unexplained glory flies above them, Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom -- A field where a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Swift blazing flag of the regiment, Eagle with crest of red and gold, These men were born to drill and die. Point for them the virtue of slaughter, Make plain to them the excellence of killing And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
Do not weep.
War is kind.


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Didn't Steven Crane author the "Red Badge of Courage"? Just Dad had that book waaay back in the day, and that's the author name that I remember.

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