Friday, October 10, 2008

Big Smith

Copyright 2008

He walked to the fields behind his mule
Sam
A day of plowin’ in mind on the eighty acres he farmed
back there in 1869
The Big War was over, and he came back
lead ball in his stomach
don’t bother him much

Bothers him more that his brother
Will
didn’t come back with him
left there in that sandy Tidewater soil
when Lee tried to push McClellan
into the sea
with half as many men
Will was one

Canister tore him apart on Malvern Hill
they made a charge a fool would spurn
Smith found half of him
his mouth still workin’
but nothin’ comin’ out
there in Virginia
Summer of ‘62

He can still see Will’s eyes
beseeching him for something he couldn’t give
his legs back
his life back
home

He puts a trembling hand to his brow
a tear streams from each eye
He’s glad no one can see

Brothers like Will don’t come along every day
One year apart, they took care of each other
Watched out for each other
growin’ up on a poor farm
in the Southern hills
where winters were so cold it hurt
where food got scarce and the boys went barefoot
in the snow
But they had each other
Brothers they

Off to war together
Glad to serve
Proud to help drive the Yankees back

One is wounded
One is dead, the lucky one

Smith wipes the tears
flicks the reins and the mule moves
plow sinking deep in the soil
sinking deep in his heart
where the furrows never close
and the past is never past.

1 comment:

Jack Dixon said...

Very nice, Barry. I like this a lot.

Jack