Guest Poet Heather Clarisa Clark

July 1863, The American Civil War - The Price of "The Cause."
The night has now fallen, 
the long day behind us, 
our muskets and baggage, 
now lay by our sides.

The hot breath of combat, 
so endless its hunger, 
has taken so many, 
good men as they’ve died.

I think of you, dearest, 
into Hell I have fallen, 
yet your vision, my angel, 
sustains me this night.

My family, my lady, 
the land of my people, 
my hearth and our future, 
for all do I fight.

Hearken, my lovely, 
please hear this my message, 
to you sweetest heart, 
will I turn with a thought.

So many have suffered, 
such loses inflicted, 
yet none chose to falter, 
for our ladies we fought.

Hear me, oh hear me, 
my darling, my lover, 
know how I love you, 
my longing like grief.

So sweet yet so bitter, 
I long but to touch you, 
to give one last kiss, 
to your most noble cheek.

We drove back the Yankees, 
but more kept on coming, 
we stood with cold steel, 
and received them again.

No woman of Dixie, 
from wealth or from common, 
need bow to invaders, 
due to brave southern men.

* * *

Oh husband, dear husband, 
I know of your horrors, 
I know of the many, 
that died there today.

I know of the sick, 
of the wounded, the fallen, 
the heat and exhaustion, 
the price you all paid.

You tell me of battles, 
of heroes and valor, 
I know this to be you, 
and for this I'm blessed.

But hearken to me now, 
your wife, and your lover, 
to see you once more, 
is to me what is best.

So please, I am pleading, 
I cry out my anguish, 
that such manly courage, 
may leave you destroyed.

No matter the Yankees, 
what good their invasion, 
if stopped at the price, 
of our husbands and boys.

Each ball and each shell, 
all exploding among you, 
each man torn asunder, 
to rise never more.

Rips out the brave hearts, 
of your fine southern ladies, 
to moan and to drown, 
in their tears and the gore.

To God do I cry out, 
my arms now extended, 
bring end to this killing, 
return us to peace.

Turn back the invader, 
the price has been paid now, 
return our dear men, 
so this slaughter may cease

February, 1998

Heather Clarisa Clark's Questions:

This is my first poem, so my quirey to readers is rather general. Do you like it? Does it strike a chord with you? What changes would you recommend? Thank you.

July of 1863 was the eve of the great cross-roads during "The War of Northern Aggression." The Confederacy had defeated the Yankees time after time at Manassas Junction, The Seven Days, The Peninsula Campaign, Fair Oaks, Antietam, Sharpsburg, and Fredericksburg to name but a few. Each time the casualties were heavy for both sides, but as the south did not have the manpower of the north, this continual bloody attrition worked strongly against them. At the same time, the agrarian southern states were cut off from overseas supply by the Yankee naval blockade. It is with an understanding of this historical background, that this poem was written.

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The Albany Poetry Workshop