THE CIVIL WAR
In 1860 life was good,
Till its simpleness ceased one day.
The North wished to save the Union
While the South chose to break away.
America was torn apart
As six hundred thousand died.
Throughout four years of total war,
Women without husbands cried.
The sad fact of the Civil War
Is what was left at its end.
Too many times, men’s evil acts
Destroyed both foe and friend.
The problem was, once it began,
There was no peace or compromise.
Total victory must be proclaimed
Before rage would leave men’s eyes.
Destroy all that helps the enemy,
Was the cry of either side.
Anything to obtain victory,
As death on horseback did ride.
Black men dressed in old uniforms
Became the Union’s reserve.
They fought and died for their freedom
And their rights they earned and deserve.
Lifestyles would forever change
For all who survived the war.
It had ended as it began,
With sadness, misery and more.
Both sides prayed to the same God,
And spoke words from the Bible.
The prayers of both were not answered,
For all involved were liable.
In their new uniforms,
The young march off
Not knowing who shall return.
With a proud devotion,
They brandish their flag
Leaving loved ones to wonder and yearn.
May we all be buried
By all of our children
Is an ancient tribal prayer.
They’re so easy to lose
But so hard to forget;
Such a burden for a parent to bear.
Oh, the taste of victory
Shall soon be forgotten;
But, never that which was lost.
For those rows of white headstones
In peaceful green fields,
Make it easy to tally the cost.
America has survived all attempts to destroy
Knowing the cruelty of war,
And, we who remain
Must help keep her free
For those who can march no more!
THE KANSAS FRONTIER
Coronado, in his search to find gold for Spain,
Was the first European on the green Kansas plane.
Explorers and traders were arriving from France.
They saw the buffalo and the Indians who danced.
At the mouth of the Kaw were campfires in the dark;
Two men by the river named Lewis and Clark.
Large numbers of Indians, forced out from the East,
Resettled to Kansas where the buffalo feast.
So, many a cowboy decided to stay,
It wasn’t very long and most Indians were forced away.
When Missouri joined the Union; the slave states equaled the free.
Which way would Kansas vote, congress was anxious to see?
The Heart-Landers were bleeding; their towns were on fire;
As raiders from the slave states tried to force their desire.
The settlement of Lawrence was sacked by a mob,
In revenge came John Brown, who would murder and rob.
Kansas joined the Union as the Civil War began.
After four long years of tragedy, many women lost their man.
Cattle trails met the railroads as they pushed across the state.
Farmers planted corn and wheat as the buffalo awaited their fate.
Those frontier days have long since gone, though the sunflower is still here;
My childhood home of Kansas where the buffalo roam with the deer.
BLACK POWDER BRIDGE
A courier rider hands his papers to me;
They are instructions from Robert E. Lee.
I am advised now is the time,
To stop the troop movement on the Rock Island line.
I muster my men and they load up the boats,
We powder our pistols and darken our coats.
Traveling the currents, the sun slips from sight,
As brave men with a purpose have gathered to fight.
We capture a bridge before the moonrise,
The Yankees who are here shall soon feed the flies.
The evil of war feeds on my brain
As I light the fuse to destroy a train.
Above us a trestle of timber and tar
As we pull our oars for a willowed sandbar.
From the banks of the river; we watch it approach;
There’s shadows of soldiers, in the windows of a coach.
With a burst of bright yellow and a roar in my ear,
I hear them scream as they ’re falling in fear.
The river is boiling in steam, steel and stems,
Back home their families shall soon sing funeral hymns.
The one lone survivor was a red stallion stud,
I lassoed his neck, and freed him from the mud.
As I ride in his saddle beneath the stars that shine,
I pray for forgiveness and some peace of mind.
War is a lesson we ‘re eager to learn
When man has that fever to murder and burn.
Lord, please forgive me for what I have done,
For all those I’ve silenced were some mother’s son.
THE FEVER OF FEAR
Cannons are bursting hot metal from the ground.
Soldiers are looting and burning our town.
The fever of fear rushes through my veins,
As too many Bluecoats jump from troop trains.
Smoke from hot barrels is swirling around,
As four thousand muskets volley their sound.
All of my comrades have stopped a lead ball;
Most cry out, then stumble and fall.
Even the young lad who carried our flag,
Now he lies dead as he clings to that rag.
Wagons with the wounded trail blood on the ground,
Death and destruction are easily found.
The Generals are crying ’cause they can’t stand defeat;
But it’s always the soldier who dies on his feet.
Horse hooves are pounding on a bridge made of boards,
As the sunlight reflects from the blades of their swords.
Quickly I hide out in the roots of a tree,
Where the dirt has eroded and there’s just room for me.
After dark I sneak out with the cover of fog,
Then float down the river, as I cling to a log.
Songs of their victory, ring out through the night,
While from the cold, muddy water, I see their firelight.
It makes me remember my old country church,
Where the preacher spoke God’s word from his holy perch.
That the seed of all conflict began in a cave;
When man, like the wild wolf had to prove he was brave.
THUNDER IN THE GROUND
Cannons are bellowing from a ridge far away.
The battle lines are forming and there’s little time to pray.
Musket balls are pelting like hailstones from the sky;
I’m so full of fear cause I don ’t want to die.
From beyond yonder hill comes a terrifying sound,
It’s the music of the buglers and there’s thunder in the ground.
The fast-riding troopers have all drawn out their swords.
They ’re shouting and screaming as they charge up the gorge.
It’s hard to believe how many make it through;
As they’re hacking and shooting at the boys dressed in blue.
Then come the soldier men who run upon their feet,
Every time I drop one, my heart skips a beat.
There’s a storm on the ground made of death, dust and smoke.
My throat is so dry, I can ’t help but choke.
The fury of the battle is bound to settle down,
When most of the fighters lie dead on the ground.
After dark, the stretcher-bearers are afraid to search around.
The wild hogs eat the wounded and I can ’t stand the sound.
Come dawn, we dig ditches for all the brave, lifeless men.
Then quote words from our Bible praying heaven lets them in.
When you chain the neck of a slave,
The other end fastens to you.
Your heart and soul become corrupt,
And all which is evil you’ll do.
No government shall exist for long,
Who’s people are not really free.
Though around the world there are those,
Who stay blind to how life should be.
Any who must enslave others,
Will dwell in their own living hell
After death, they’ll join their master,
In that place from heaven he fell.
But till then we’ll fight and resist
Making them put their chains away.
And those of us who may die first,
From heaven shall watch and pray
BROTHER AGAINST BROTHER
In the course of becoming officers
The young men of West Point bonded like brothers.
Till roomers of Civil War transformed friend to foe,
As many cadets chose to serve others.
Fifty-five of sixty major battles fought,
Were lead by graduates of the long gray line.
Yankees and Rebels ravaged one another,
For to kill and plunder were virtues of the time.
Over six hundred thousand soldiers were consumed,
Not counting multitudes of population.
Cities, farms and the countryside were laid to waste,
Before our Union was restored to a nation.
THE LITTLEST SOLDIER
Nine year old Johnny Clem who stood just four feet tall,
Ran away from Ohio to answer his country’s call.
He joined up with the Union and became a drummer boy,
Soon to prove the gun he wore was far more than a toy.
Armed with a sawed-off musket, cut down to just fit him,
He shot a Rebel horseman who tried to do him in.
Awarded his sergeant’s stripes and the silver medal,
His comrades offered him hot coffee from their kettle.
The newspapers of the North, gladly published his story,
Telling of the nine year old who earned his country’s glory.
The moon is sky high
And perfectly round
As it highlights the beauty
Of disputed ground.
Life is a journey
Where the passage is free.
After, there’s judgment,
By the living and Thee.
We’ll survive if we can.
Death and dismemberment
By the hand of man.
Some will stumble
With absence of breath.
While others charge
Into the face of death.
We’ll race toward the battle
And pray for the best,
We pass God’s test.
Their red and blue, ragtag flag stood out,
Against their dust covered uniforms of gray.
Savagely we fought to kill our enemy,
As the battle raged on in the heat of the day
Volley after volley we put forth our blaze,
With thousands of led balls snapping flesh and bone.
Blistering sweat rolled down every face,
As the tunes of war by bugles were blown.
There was a clanking sound of ramrods in barrels,
As each new minieball was loaded and fired.
Some shot aimlessly into the smoke,
While others took aim at the worn and tired.
Bullets were popping like the fourth of July, S
Yet our enemy kept surging ahead.
All at once they broke and ran off in groups,
Scattering as for the forest they fled.
From behind the protection of a stacked-stone wall,
The victorious cheered or just sat starring,
At all the bodies of friend and foe
While for the wounded the surgeons were caring.
Soon the war was over and I survived,
Despite it’s brutality on trampled ground.
From boy to man I was transformed,
Though, still in the night I hear its sound.
THE HINGE OF HISTORY
The hinge of history swings in all directions
As the happenings of the past are written down.
Out of all that has occurred since man’s beginnings,
Less has been recorded than waits to be found.
Babylonians kept chronicles of history,
Hebrews wrote the past as a dramatic story.
Greeks had no faith in the future at all,
Believing mans repeated errors doom his glory.
Christians added a new dimension to history,
Looking forward to Christ’s return to earth.
An on going drama involving man and God,
Believing all are created of equal worth.
Some have asked why must we study history;
It just encourages us to live in the past.
When we forget history we repeat its mistakes,
As the outcome of humanity is cast.
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