Gettysburg - BOTH Audio and Text
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This sort of horrible tragedy actually happened in America's Civil War -
Despite the soft and tepid breeze, the day felt cold and mean,
As I became a witness to the foulest things I’ve seen.
The flag they had so proudly flown, now lay there…in the mud,
Surrounded by the lifeless lads…the soil was red with blood.
Still huddled in their would-be tombs, I walked the losers’ trench.
I saw the torn and mangled souls, and smelled the choking stench.
I watched as surgeons scoured the field for soldiers they might save.
The souls who fought against us…were they not as fine - as brave?
Patriots, just as we, whom by their causes are compelled…
Duty bound to fight until they’ve won, or they are felled?
I listened as the chaplain gave his prayer for all who’d died.
My heart had no complaint as - with his words --- he chose no side.
I walked among the corpses in a dark, remorseful daze,
When - trudging through the carnage - in this godforsaken maze,
I caught the faintest whisper. “Help me, please…I beg of you.” (I’d often wondered: Should this ever happen…..what I’d do.)
I motioned to a medic as I beckoned, “Over here!”
The wound was very grave and I, at last, would taste a tear
As - when they rolled him over - and had kicked away his gun -
I found this was no stranger. ‘Twas my brother’s eldest son!
At once I knew the gentle face…he had his father’s eyes.
I told myself, “This is my flesh and blood…and if he dies,
Though I - myself - quite likely not be he that took his life,
How would I disclose this to his parents…and his wife?”
His feeble body lying there, I knelt and took his hand.
He found my eyes and softly said, “Weep not…I understand.”
That would be the last time I would see my nephew’s face.
And those of us who mourn his death…we know the time and place,
But I have never found the need, nor strength, with which to tell
That I was firing…from the other side…the day he fell!
Copyright © Mark Stellinga | Year Posted 2021
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