Our Army Of The Dead.

A poem by Will Carleton

By the edge of the Atlantic, where the waves of Freedom roar,
And the breezes of the ocean chant a requiem to the shore,
On the Nation's eastern hill-tops, where its corner-stone was laid,
On the mountains of New England, where our fathers toiled and prayed,
Mid old Key-stone's rugged riches, which the miner's hand await,
Mid the never-ceasing commerce of the busy Empire State,
With the country's love and honor on each brave, devoted head,
Is a band of noble heroes--is our Army of the Dead.

On the lake-encircled homestead of the thriving Wolverine,
On the beauteous Western prairies, with their carpeting of green,
By the sweeping Mississippi, long our country's pride and boast,
On the rugged Rocky Mountains, and the weird Pacific coast,
In the listless, sunny Southland, with its blossoms and its vines,
On the bracing Northern hill-tops, and amid their murmuring pines,
Over all our happy country--over all our Nation spread,
Is a band of noble heroes--is our Army of the Dead.

Not with musket, and with saber, and with glad heart beating fast;
Not with cannon that had thundered till the bloody war was past;
Not with voices that are shouting with the vim of victory's note;
Not with armor gayly glistening, and with flags that proudly float;
Not with air of martial vigor, nor with steady, soldier tramp,
Come they grandly marching to us--for the boys are all in camp.
With forgetfulness upon it--each within his earthy bed,
Waiting for his marching orders--is our Army of the Dead.

Fast asleep the boys are lying, in their low and narrow tents,
And no battle-cry can wake them, and no orders call them hence;
And the yearnings of the mother, and the anguish of the wife,
Can not with their magic presence call the soldier back to life;
And the brother's manly sorrow, and the father's mournful pride,
Can not give back to his country him who for his country died.
They who for the trembling Nation in its hour of trial bled,
Lie, in these its years of triumph, with our Army of the Dead.

When the years of Earth are over, and the cares of Earth are done,
When the reign of Time is ended, and Eternity begun,
When the thunders of Omniscience on our wakened senses roll,
And the sky above shall wither, and be gathered like a scroll;
When, among the lofty mountains, and across the mighty sea,
The sublime celestial bugler shall ring out the reveille,
Then shall march with brightest laurels, and with proud, victorious tread,
To their station up in heaven, our Grand Army of the Dead!

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Our Army Of The Dead.' by Will Carleton

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy