Academic journal article Southern Quarterly

The Cold Gray Soldier, Gettysburg

Academic journal article Southern Quarterly

The Cold Gray Soldier, Gettysburg

Article excerpt

He lies quiet in this alien ditch

a thousand miles from home,

half his body sheared away by a shell

he had no idea was coming,

leaving the upper whole almost serene,

as if he lies in slumber and sweet dreams.

A lonely breeze stirs a lock of hair

his mother might have kissed long years ago

before her boy grew into a soldier and left

the comfort of her table and hearth

to march deep into an unknown land

and take arms against men

he did not know and did not hate.

Who knows what lodged in his head

before the flash that sundered him?

A girl he might have known

and promised he would return to,

that last glimpse of his weeping mother?

His favorite woods or swimming hole.

Perhaps his mind was fixed on what

he might be having for supper that night

or what lay beyond the rise before him. …

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