Academic journal article Southern Quarterly

Mockingbird

Academic journal article Southern Quarterly

Mockingbird

Article excerpt

(Gettysburg: November, 1863)

That next autumn the Weaver Brothers

with their camera bigger than a hatbox

caught us at Bull's tavern in parade dress

half-snockered on cheap oh-be-joyful.

They promised each man a half dollar

to pose on Devil's Den where the slaughter

we'd survived in the recent summer

had been too gruesome to summon

to mind full sober. So we trooped out

into the brisk weather and reclined,

artful as a squad of studio models

masquerading as the dead, while a pair

of doctors in smart frock coats stood

over us like Satan's angels examining

souls on the threshold. It's all theater,

the photographer's helper jested,

now that Lincoln and the multitudes

had remembered and cheered and gone,

but I'd been there for the big scrap -

crouching, shit-scared, firing wild -

and couldn't quit flinching. Our Corporal

Billikin, knock-kneed in his cups, kept

singing "Listen to the Mockingbird,"

about the bird trilling high in the willow

by the grave of poor Halle. …

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