Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

In honor of those who served and are now gone from us, this haunting verse written by Herman Melville in 1866, shortly after the Civil War. "Shiloh" is from his Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War, a collection of poetry inspired by that harrowing conflict between the states.

Shiloh: A Requiem (April, 1862)
Skimming lightly, wheeling still,
The swallows fly low
Over the field in clouded days,
The forest-field of Shiloh—
Over the field where April rain
Solaced the parched ones stretched in pain
Through the pause of night
That followed the Sunday fight
Around the church of Shiloh—
The church so lone, the log-built one,
That echoed to many a parting groan
And natural prayer
Of dying foemen mingled there—
Foemen at morn, but friends at eve—
Fame or country least their care:
(What like a bullet can undeceive!)
But now they lie low,
While over them the swallows skim,
And all is hushed at Shiloh.