Spring, 1864

Spring’s first blush
kisses me as I push my way
through the door,
onto the porch;
my old hips groan louder than the hinges.

One, two, three painful steps, I shuffle
to the post where I stop and lean
as I try to catch my breath.

Air fills my lungs anew,
as my gaze falls upon the field:
untouched it stands.
Tears well in my eyes –
it will stay that way this year.

My sons,
my proud, precious sons
will not plow or
work or
touch the field
or any field
this year
or year.

They forever lie,
in peaceful repose I hope,
in some
unknown, unnamed field:
Virginian field,
victims, as are we all,
of this unending war.

Never will my boys
love or
play or
work this field again.
In peaceful rest,
they forever lie –
so I hope,
so I pray.

From the South,
a crow flies into sight,
its raucous call
breaks my reverie.

I rub one gnarled hand
against another –
hands twisted by life will never again hold a plow –
and I wonder if
down in Virginia, where Spring has surely come,
some spent, used-up man, some grieving father,
whose sons marched away to bugle’s call under flapping banners,
now gazes on a field
and remembers, wonders, weeps.

with thanks to Don Shriver
DL 5759
5 October 2012


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