Psalms of the Civil War
... The Confederacy
61. The Civil War
I am the she-bitch birthed through Hell’s own Gate
Upon the men of this Republic. Cannon-flung
And musket-fired, I sing across red fields.
Of gore. I pile up bodies dark and deep.
The graves I open hold the scrolls of life
Undone, of deeds turned foul, of lives unwon.
This monster that I am is nonetheless
The reddest beauty that this world has known.
I am the blessing and curse, the God of War,
The winning and the loss, the every toss
Of men and muscle against lead that flys
Across the battlefields to enter eyes and burn
Their hearts out clean. I ferret out their hopes
And dreams into the clarity of death.
That beauteous bridge of dying that is now
A sea of corpses arched across this stream
Of flowing blood, arch red as sunset bright
Against those Western skies where souls
Depart on winds of stars unto a place
Where twilight’s quiet end is laced about
In silver meteors at evening time.
These men so wasted on a useless charge
Of flesh against a sea of iron, so soft
For bullets’ pelting piercing strikes into
Those pulsing youthful hearts that yearn to fight
And die for glory’s flag, gaze out into
A brazen, darkening sky, a place of war
Forgotten in a blaze of deadly moans.
63. Cold Harbor
Those guns are flashing in our minds. These skies
Above the cold hard earth where men seek God’s
Outstretching hands and pray for safety, now
Are singed with flying pellets thick as bees
So deadly, if a man reached up to touch
The spewing bolts of lead, he’d lose his arm,
If not his life itself. "Oh, Lord, please save
Me from this battle’s deadly roar of death."
This place of quieting pain, where men lie down
To die amid the grass so green and lush
And hear that final hush as death sucks out
Their bloodied wounds to sweet abandon, speaks
Against their fading ears in fusillades
Of bullets festering inside their veins.
64. Missouri Militia Revenges Itself at Leavenworth
This land of rivers where the eagles soar
Where North and South collide against the West
And men with false allegiance fight both sides
Against the middle, charging now into
The tented soldiers camped at Leavenworth,
In Kansas, from whose evil lairs these troops
With Union colors, came to kill Missouri folk,
And whose revengeful charge caused havoc sent
With sweet revenge to Kansan hearts. Those dead
Against the Kansas grass will never live
To kill another farmer’s wife in some
Missouri valley dark and sweet whose trees
As high as heaven’s starry skies touched God
And waved as Kansan soldiers burned thier farms.
65. Pickett’s Charge
I, George E. Pickett, led an army charge
That bears my name. My fault it was that I
Did not refuse to make that charge. I knew
That all my men would perish there, and yet
I feared of being called a coward. So I led
Their charge into eternity. Those men who died
Because of me, all fifteen thousand strong,
Rushed headlong on that killing field where songs
Of death rode wings of bullets into hearts
Of gold. I loved those men so much I left
Them dying in that glorious place where moans
And curses filled our ears and lost the war
Itself in one grand crimson rush into
That Devil’s eye called Gettysburg.
67. General Robert E. Lee
A graduate of West Point, I became
The General that led so many to
Their deaths against the very flag
I’d sworn to serve. I served it muskets’ gore.
All things are not as simple as we think
When we are young and innocent. The eyes
Begin to fail to save us from our sins.
The darkest days become the place where eyes
Grow dim from mourning, and the blinding heat
Of many battles cause the eyes to die.
This darkness in my heart and eyes will take
Me to the grave where men I led now lie
And curse the day they met me for I stole
Their hearts that God bore for the girl who wept.
It was a crazy war. Why not a name
As crazy as this one. This place they called
The Appomattox sends a siren call
To lay down arms for this lost cause. And so,
We both have lost. The Union struggles to
Become a land of freedom, whilst it slays
The South because it, too, demanded that.
No freedom here exists. It is a cove
Of tyranny where Pirates force my hand
To pen my name in dark surrender. Now,
We are defeated men, now, prisoners
To the detestable Union’s flag to which
We pledged allegiance, dead of heart, bereft
Of hope, and forced into despicable chains.
60. The Goddess of War
I rest atop those writhing, bloodied men
Whose death-crazed screams place rouge upon my lips
In bloodiest red. I laugh to highest Heaven.
My every breath is death’s dark plunge through life.
Those soldier legs that carry them into
These fields of deadly gore, seem more to me
Like heads on stakes exploring through some dark
And pagan world, more deadly than the game
The Devil makes of lives misspent in drink
And women’s beds, than those of Christian souls.
How foul they’ll be in stench of days ahead
As rot and worms make chaos of their flesh
To turn their bodies into quiet bones
As white as snow, as pure as death itself.