At first, the gallant amble of his stride
Enhanced a glint of bayonets in his eyes,
But sadness underneath belied this pride
With visions of the violent way he died.
A martyr’s cause can scarcely recompense
For friends and foes so savagely dispensed.
Which side was his is now a mute pretense
When measured by the heart and common sense:
Some mother’s son, some lover’s forlorn bed,
His life cut short by a mini-ball to the head
Was full of wistful dreams and somber dreads,
And then the useless scrambling by the lead.
He came in dream to tell his ghostly tale –
When will rationality prevail?
Every sword we flourish to impale
A brother testifies to another way we fail.
This poem was published in the May 2013 issue of The Sentinal, the newsletter of the Monroe County Civil War Roundtable.