The haunting strains of "Ashokan Farewell" keep racing thro' my brain.
'Tis a fitting requiem for those who bore the agonizing pain,
Of bidding a sad farewell at many a humble cabin door,
As young men were called to serve in the American Civil War.
Its poignant theme wafts as a gentle zephyr o'er the countless graves,
Of gallant men who faced Death's Scythe in unfaltering waves.
Men who wore either blue or gray and unselfishly gave their all,
Lie sleeping 'neath hallowed soil awaiting Gabriel's triumphant call.
Each time I hear those mournful chords played on the violin,
Tho' 'tis decades later, I feel melancholy for grieving next-of-kin,
And for their heroes left upon the field of strife, lonely, bereft, forlorn;
"Ashokan Farewell" is a sad lament for those who were left behind to mourn.
Every time I hear that tune, I'm reminded and left to wonder,
Why brothers tore this nation, this beacon of hope, asunder.
Thanks to one man's vision and unshakeable resolve,
A united and stronger nation would once again evolve.
Antietam, Bull Run, Manassas, Spotsylvania, Gettysburg,
Fort Sumpter, Shiloh and the formidable bluffs of Vicksburg;
O'er these now peaceful battlegrounds, once ravaged by shot and shell,
At eventide can be faintly heard, the solemn dirge of "Ashokan Farewell."
Robert L. Hinshaw, CMSgt, USAF, Retired
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Honorable Mention in the November 2010 Poetry Soup International Poetry Contest