Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Touch of Self-Abasing Nostalgia

It's been quite a long while since I wrote what I consider to be a "good" poem.  But shuffling through some old writing of mine today, I was reminded that my writing passion was birthed, truly, at a reenactment.  The first "series" of poems I ever wrote were composed shortly after visiting both the Gettysburg battlefield and the Huntington Beach reenactment for the first time at the age of 13.  I can laugh at their maudlin awfulness now, but am still delighted and bemused by the continuity of my hobbies 12 years later.

For your tongue-in-cheek pleasure, I give you a sampling of the "best" to be had from my budding, 13-year-old pen (present-day comments in italics):

Thoughts at Devil's Den
The following is what happens when you let junior-highers read Pablo Neruda and forget to explain the purpose of enjambment.  

Pale grey sky
to Mourn
For souls
long ago

The brook
Down, down
From the hill
Did it once
Run red?

Wind, past my ears,
Cool, it goes by
Was it once
With the smell
Of Death?

Cold stone
Piled like blocks.
Were they once
On a fine
summer's day,
The Last to
The bodies of

Wind pas
Maybe I was channeling the memories of an asthmatic octogenarian veteran climbing the famous pile? ;-) 

 The next one did once make Karen Turner cry.  From joy or pain, I'll never know.  Come to think of it, she was probably imagining it set to music - as you can see, it came complete with a chorus.  Now, just imagine the "warbler" (some of you will know who I mean) singing it through, and, yes, the tears will come . . . Miss Copeland would tell you that comfrey is a great remedy for, you know, ear-bleeds ;-)

Sons of the South

Sunlight streams down through the trees,
Upon the Grey and Blue,
Their banners ripple in the breeze,
Their hearts steadfast and true.

Ah, look!  How young is the cheek of one,
How grey and old is another -
Oh, do they know that across the field
Stands a man they once called brother?

And so they stand and lean
'Gainst the muzzles of their guns
How many souls will die today,
How many mothers will mourn for sons?

For every cannon, an empty embrace,
Every order, they're down by one 
Every charge, another orphan,
Every bullet, a mother's son. (I obviously overestimated the accuracy of blackpowder rifes...)

Without a warning, fire pours forth
From the dark blue line ahead,
"Charge!" shouts the man on the great, grey horse
As he rides o'er the fallen and dead.

Fast and thick falls the snow of lead
Hear the shriek of the Rebel Cry!
Brave as lions they charge the lines
And silent as panthers, they die.

What now becomes of that Barred Red Flag?
Is it flutt'ring atop the hill?
Or does it hang now from the hands of a boy,
As he lies, cold, and still?

As you can see, I have not grown any less morbid in 12 years...  If I don't get alot of "stop, you're making my soul hurt" comments, I may later choose to inflict y'all with an almost-decent-ish poem about a cannon, and the pretty-much-tripe poem I once dedicated to Steve Fry of the 3rd Texas, 9 years before I knew everybody who knows him . . .

Thoughts a

1 comment:

  1. No fair. I didn't write poetry this good till I was at least 16 or 17. :-P