Waiting for Fireworks at Antietam National Battlefield

The orchestra begins “O, say
can you see,” and in the dusk
those boys rise again
from the tree line and form
in rows sung into them
with “Mine eyes have seen
the glory.” Ranks waver
and writhe like banners
over rise and hollow.

And boys begin to fall.

Gaps appear and close,
a fatal mending learned by drum
and heart beat. Still
a music hums them
onward through corn and smoke,
those blue ribbons shredding
in perfect 4/4 time.

“Waiting for Fireworks at Antietam National Battlefield” is posted in response to the Ragtag Community Daily Prompt word serried. This poem was written over a decade ago in the awe following a Fourth of July visit to one of the deadliest battlefields in the history of the USA. It appears in the book by Lee Robison entitled Have, which is scheduled for publication by Wordtech Communications in November 2019.

Note to those less familiar with USA history: here is the Wikipedia entry regarding the Battle of Antietam.


4 thoughts on “Waiting for Fireworks at Antietam National Battlefield

  1. Those blue ribbons shredding. . . .civil war is a horrible thing, and no matter who “wins,” it never ends well. I’m deeply concerned that we’re headed there again in America, simply because we don’t seem to be able to be civil to one another.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you,
      The idea of civility has its place, I guess. Though I think the term is over used and the idea is over rated. Not even Jesus was always civil. His cleansing of the temple was a highly uncivil act, both against the religious authority and against civil authority. Ultimately civil authority in Judea rested with Herod, the self styled and Roman appointed ‘King of the Jews’. Herod was the Roman hope for keeping order in Palestine. Thus Jesus’s amok was an affront to Rome as well as the Temple guardians.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I agree. Jesus said what needed to be said, knowing He was going to the cross for sin He had not committed.

        I’m thinking more of just common courtesy, which is sadly UNcommon these days. We can’t disagree without foul language, insults, name-calling, accusations of all sorts. In Portland, Oregon recently there was an actual physical fight between a gathering (legal, permits, etc) and a leftist group who came to harass them under the guise of their own freedom of speech and assembly. The police came, but seemed unable to stop the confrontation. It ended with the conservative group defending themselves and chasing the others away. It made me sick to my stomach that we have reached such a level of political hatred in the “land of the free, the home of the brave.”


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