Words For the Hour: A New Anthology of American Civil War Poetry edited by Faith Barrett and Cristanne Miller [811.008 WOR] collects poetry of the Civil War from the great poets of the time such as Walt Whitman and John Greenleaf Whittier, but it also includes poems gleaned from newspapers and magazines of the time.
The poem I've selected for today is by S. A. Jonas. It is a poem that could have been written by either side of the conflict and tears at the heart with the injustices of war and rank:
Only a Soldier's Grave
Only a soldier's grave! Pass by,
For soldiers, like other mortals, die.
Parents had he--they are far away;
No sister weeps o'er the soldier's clay;
No brother comes, with tearful eye;
It's only a soldier's grave--pass by.
True, he was loving, and young, and brave,
Though no glowing epitaph honors his grave;
No proud recital of virtues known,
Of griefs endured, or triumphs won;
No tablet of marble, or obelisk high;--
Only a soldier's grave:--pass by.
Yet bravely he wielded his sword in fight,
And he gave his life in the cause of right!
When his hope was high, and his youthful dream
As warm as the sunlight on yonder stream;
His heart unvexed by sorrow or sigh;--
Yet, 'tis only a soldier's grave:--pass by.
Yet, we should mark it--the soldier's grave,
Some one may seek him in hope to save!
Some of the dear ones, far away,
Would bear him home to his native clay:
'Twere sad, indeed, should they wander nigh,
Find not the hillock, and pass him by.
Visit Penny and Her Jots for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.