Title:   Ghosts in the Twilight

Author:   ilerlily
Category:   Society
Keywords:  Civil war story

Views: ( 462 )

I was lately in a battlefield
Where fought the Blue and Gray,
And as I passed a monument,
I heard a voice say:

"I was a Rebel soldier,
For Dixie gave my life,
'Cause I stopped a Yankee's bullet
On a lonely night.

"I didn't like the killing,
I don't guess no one did,
'Specially when you 'member
That half of them was kids.

"Yep, we found out war's no glory,
It's only man-made hell--
You see that Round Top over yonder?
That's where my two brothers fell.

"Nope, it weren't no `holy war'
As they would have us b'lieve,
It was just another war
A-caused by human greed.

"I fought for good ole Dixie
And my folk in Tennessee,
But I didn't stop to reckon
What it means to not be free.

"I didn't stop to 'member
How in seventeen-seventy six
Great-grandpa gave his life
Them Britishers to lick.

"I didn't even think of
Grandpa in eighteen-hundred twelve,
Why, he was in his height of glory
Just to give them English hell!

"I forgot as how my pa
Died back in forty-seven:
I didn't think of how he's feeling
A-watching me from Heaven.

"I hope that they've forgave me
For this thing I've done,
'Cause to them, defying the Constitution
Can be remedied on by a gun!"

I was startled by the stillness
Left by that ghost in Gray,
So you can understand my fright
When I heard another voice say:

"I was a Yankee soldier
And here I also died,
You heard the Rebel's story,
Now you'll hear my side.

"The Johnny Reb was right
In might near everything,
Difference was, I didn't forget
The sound of Freedom's ring."

Their voices came together,
The Yankee's and the Reb's,
The one that followed Doubleday,
And the one that followed Jeb:

"In life we fought each other,
In death, we are the same,
Two men who were too young
To be dealt in that fatal poker game.

"One fought to save a country,
One strove to tear it down,
But in our peaceful solitude
With these shadows all around

"We can understand
And try to help the mortal man
And try to give him pointers
To play a winning hand.

"We were enemies in life,
But we're partners here in death;
So don't let a sneaky dealer
Deal from the bottom of the deck.

"He'll deal you in for nothing
(He's the best man you have met),
Until you pick your cards up
And find the card marked `Death'."

Yes, this is the story
From that twilight battlefield,
Two men that told the story
Of the sword, the horse, and shield.

They rode away to battle
To the saber and the fife,
They anted up their youth
And the pot they lost was life.

Beverly Hearn Cook

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