Sunday, January 27, 2008

Leaves of Grass

I’ve seen the ghosts at Gettysburg,
spirits of heroes mown down in their youth
in sacrifice celebrated by Whitman,
the poet prescient in his vision of
atoms and blood-fed grass.

I’ve seen the ghosts at Gettysburg,
young men swept away
by love of country
or love of God,
ghosts whose father mother sister brother
comb the fields in attitudes of desperation,
whose wives and sweethearts
weep away their beauty
as they wander the graves
in search of truth.

I’ve seen the ghosts at Gettysburg
Rebel and Fed
called forth by tears.
They rise through the miasma
greet one another in the haze,
greet one another in blades of grass
atoms mingling,
greet one another as kindred spirits,
as confraternal souls
destined forever to walk
as ghosts at Gettysburg.

(Image: The Battle of Gettysburg, 1884, Paul Dominic Philippoteaux.)