The Poetry of the American Civil War by Lee Steinmetz

By Lee Steinmetz

Within the Poetry of the yank Civil battle, Lee Steinmetz brings jointly an intensive choice of verse encouraged by means of this nation's bloodiest clash. this is often poetry written by means of usual humans and is gifted to demonstrate the numerous and sundry responses they'd to the conflagration.

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Half naked people cowered under bushes from the blast, And shivered as the midnight wind with icy breathings past; Fair maidens whose luxurious lives had known before no blight, With faces pale as marble stood, beneath the pall of night; While "crimson horrors" lighted up the wintry midnight sky, As on the ebon wings of smoke their burning homesteads fly; Till village after village, by ascending flames were traced, And rising on the mourning clouds, with fiery arms embraced. The treasured stores of art, and taste, defiled and ruined lay, Rare paintings which had long withstood the touch of Time's decay, Rich tapestry of velvet soft, besmeared with ink and oil, Where dainty feet once lightly tread, is now among the spoil; Rare furniture, superbly carved, pianos grand in tone, Beneath the ruffian's crushing stroke, sent up an echoing moan; The gardens, types of Paradise, in tropic verdure dressed, All trampled by the vandal's steed, lay ruined with the rest; The cries of starving children rose upon the smoky air, And wild ascended piteous screams of women in despair; As far as human eye could reach a blackened desert lay, And o'er a stricken people hung the shadows of dismay.

In large part poets employed the subject of separation as a convenient means of focusing attention on man's sensibilities. It is not surprising, then, that poets should make poetic capital of the inevitable separation brought on by the war. In "The Soldier's Fireside, after a Battle," an anonymous poet who signed his work M. T. C. draws a typical picture of the kind of anxiety experienced by the families of those who are fighting. The poem is from Flowers from the Battle-Field, and Other Poems (Philadelphia, 1864).

The very fire in the chimney Seemed trying to cheer their gloom, For a sudden blaze set dancing All the shadows in the room. The mother's brow grew softer, The sister faintly smiled, And the wife lost half her anguish, As she gazed upon the child. Each thought of the loving Father Who makes the brave soldier His care, And their doubt and despair were routed By the holy power of prayer; TO THINK THAT YOU DIED ALONE And the morning proved that the baby Had brought them a vision true, For they had good news from their loved one, And hope for their country too.

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