Another Gettysburg Poem

I said I wouldn’t post again until mid-May, but habits can be hard to break and here I am popping in two days in advance of knee replacement surgery. After this, it likely will be mid-May before I post again. Over the last few days – in addition to working on a checklist of things I need to accomplish before my surgery – I have been working on another poem springing from a 2021 visit to Gettysburg with my wife and sister. Two previous poems resulting from that trip can be found here and here. Today’s poem is likely not finished, and I often kick myself after a sharing a poem still in progress, but ’tis what ’tis.


Birds sang on Cemetery Ridge today,
a field of dry wheat waved
and rustled in the wind. 
Did the birds sing on that day?
Does wheat still wave
when God looks the other way?
Union boys muttered and gasped
to see vast shimmering ranks
form across the field.
Rattling battle drums
were difficult to hear
over silent Confederates prayers.
Artillery boomed, horses and men screamed, 
muskets and carbines roared without pause,
dead men on the ridge, dead men in the field.
When did birds begin to sing again?
When did the wheat feel free
to wave again in the wind?
             - Joseph Neely, 04/26/23

I recently returned from a first-ever visit to Austin, Texas, where I met my newest grandchild for the first time. Life is good.

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A New Poem Every Monday
(tho’ sometimes life gets in the way)

Joseph Neely, all rights reserved.