For four grim years General Lee
And his boys in grey fought heroically
Against a ruthless foe in defense
Of the Southern land. Many, going thence,
Died a grievous death, bodies torn by cannon shell
And musket ball, writhing in blood and spittle.
Many, also, those who survived such an encounter,
At the cost of a limb, an arm hack-sawed at the shoulder.
Knowing hunger, knowing thirst, knowing dreadful cold and heat;
Hard ground for a bed, marching often with bare feet.
For such acts of self-sacrifice, their memory
Should be forever praised by their progeny.
But across the South, corruption has set in,
And hearts are hardened against their patriotic kin.
In a perverse ritual of mockery,
Hailed as a supreme act of manly bravery,
The limpid press of a legislature’s voting machine
To erase their names from public honoring!
To the faithful sons and daughters of Dixie, to them it falls
To remember their names and shining deeds in the halls
Of their homes and in the rooms of their hearts,
Praying rest for their souls and healing for a culture torn apart.
Walt Garlington is a chemical engineer turned writer (and, when able, a planter). He makes his home in Louisiana and is editor of the 'Confiteri: A Southern Perspective' web site.