Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Only One Killed"

The following poem was written by Julia L. Keyes (1829-1877), an Alabama woman, after she read a notice in a newspaper during the Civil War under the headline "Only One Killed." It speaks of the disregard for the preciousness of human life that that terrible war brought; a callousness that developed in people, both North and South, with the loss of so many lives.

Only one killed -- in Company B;

'Twas a trifling loss -- one man!

A charge of the bold and dashing Lee --

While merry enough it was, to see

The enemy, as he ran.

Only one killed upon our side --

Once more to the field they turn.

Quietly now the horsemen ride --

And pause by the form of the one who died,

So bravely, as now we learn.

Their grief for the comrade loved and true

For a time was unconcealed;

They saw the bullet pierced him through;

That his pain was very brief -- ah! very few

Die thus, on the battle-field.

The news has gone to his home, afar --

Of the short and gallant fight,

Of the noble deeds of the young La Var

Whose life went out as a falling star

In the skirmish of that night.

"Only one killed! It was my son,"

The widowed mother cried.

She turned but to clasp the sinking one,

Who heard not the words of the victory won,

But of him who bravely died.

Ah! death to her were sweet relief,

The bride of a single year.

Oh! would she might, with her weight of grief,

Lie down in the dust, with the autumn leaf

Now trodden and brown and sere!

But no, she must bear through coming life

Her burden of silent woe.

The aged mother and youthful wife

Must live through a nation's bloody strife,

Sighing, and waiting to go,

Where the loved ones are meeting beyond the stars,

Are meeting no more to part.

They can smile once more through the crystal bars --

Where never more will the woe of wars

O'ershadow the loving heart.

Lest We Forget!

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff.

    It's why I like the song "All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight" so much