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MEASURING UP

I sit here in this wooded hollow
where worn out terraces recline
along this trail I often follow
while picking the fruits of muscadine
and inhaling the breath of those now passed.

Late summer breeze sighs mournfully
for a generation lost to war
where the south was the fatality.
Most knew not what they died for
as they faced rifles' and cannon's blast.

I near close my faded eyes
and almost see them marching by,
young men who would become wise
on field where hawks and eagles fly
unlike the buzzards breaking fast.

And I feel their eyes on me
measuring my character and worth.
Will I shirk my responsibility
to these red hills of my birth
from which my very life is cast?

Then I blink and they are gone
back to where past's spirits go
naught left but the earth they stood on
where now only tall oaks grow
providing wildlife with rich mast.

Yet deep inside my kin are there
as they are with southern men.
Their existence almost tints the air
and guides this rebel writer's pen
as I think of the long gone past.

Style / type: 
Structured: Western
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Last few words: 
I am not happy with title and welcome suggestions
Editing stage: 
Content level: 
Not Explicit Content

Comments

Battlefield? Old Battlefield? They Are Still Alive? Where They Still March?
You know me, titles aren't my strong point!

Respectfully, Race

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

Well I hope to get many suggestions which might just either hit the right title or maybe inspire me to come up with the right one. appreciate your dropping by

author comment

I'm not sure that I can come up with a better title, but I will say that I understand the sentiment. It seems very unfair to paint all Southerners with the same brush as those who were for the goal of protecting slavery. You are right, I do believe that most of those lost in the Civil War, were not entirely sure of what they were fighting for, except that they were fighting against an enemy that was trying to kill them. Let us not forget, that it was a very different time and many of them were brought up in a manner where people didn't believe that blacks were people too! If you are raised in a family that have certain beliefs and you are indoctrinated in that belief from childhood, you will tend to stay with those beliefs. Good writing and thoughts that bear scrutiny. ~ Geez.
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It seems that the days and hours that people
are available for chatroom are staggered and
not a good match for most everyone. How about
if everyone just shows up at the door, whenever
they have a few free minutes?

From what I've read most southern soldiers were fighting because their land had been invaded by the union army. The slavery thing didn't apply to most of them because they didn't own slaves. Even Lincoln said "If I could end this war by not freeing slaves I would and if I could end it by freeing them I would"....he also was considering shipping all slaves back to Africa when he was killed. His main ambition was to save the union and keep southern taxes coming in. But...it wound up working out as who would have confronted the German in both wars if the states had remained sundered.?

author comment

on both counts; yours and Lamington's. Our "Civil War" no matter what you wish to you call it; was a terrible thing, that should be a thing of the past and reconciliation should be the goal. ~ Geez.
.

It seems that the days and hours that people
are available for chatroom are staggered and
not a good match for most everyone. How about
if everyone just shows up at the door, whenever
they have a few free minutes?

most people on both sides have put that war behind us. We have fought 3 wars and 2 world wars since then and we had little choice but to unite

author comment

I find it both sad and odd that so many Americans keep harking back to the terrible period of their civil war over 150 years ago, seemingly with nostalgia and even a romantic glow. Many other nations which have had terrible civil wars (eg Ireland, Spain, Russia) seem to prefer to strive for forgiveness, reconciliation and a desire to draw a line under past horrors, rather than glorying in them.

However the poem is quite nicely written - but note line 19: hills should be plural.

I figured when I posted this that I'd catch some flack about glorifying a lost cause. Since the large majority of battles fought in this war took place on souther soil I am not surprised that not many spots on northern ground evoke the past as those in the south. After all only a few short excursions were made into the fringes of norther states while almost No southern state is without memory of battles fought here. This also helps explain why this war also goes by the name "War of Northern Aggression". So it's pretty hard to go into any older woods and not be reminded of the war. Old type barbed wire fence lying in ruin surrounding former field now become forests. Were these fields abandoned because the owner or his son went to war and never returned> Plus we all know about thecmajor battles and their locations. But there were also countless skirmishes where "just" a couple of men in either in blue or grey died and were buried with no marker. Indeed I have come upon deserted family and/or slave plots whose only markings are field stones half buried. Then the terraces mentioned in the poem.Often on hillsides and abandoned so long ago that 100-150 year old oaks now reside there.

I appreciate your dropping by and really appreciate his/hills spot....stan

author comment

Lovely southernspeak there. Nobody above the Mason Dixon line calls it that….

While Lamington’s points about the war are well taken, so are yours in your reply. I’ve always thought that Our Civil War was neither civil or righteous in cause. I wonder how many Poets died needlessly in it?

I thought a possibility for the title could be “Taking The Field”….

I only have one other suggestion…. The rhyming of some of the last two lines in the stanzas seems a bit forced.

Nice work here.

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Raywhitakerblog.wordpress.com
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"The recent unpleasantness", "the war of northern invasion". When you say the last 2 lines of some stanza's rhymes seem forced.......Do you mean their rhyming with each other? The last line of each stanza is intended to chain rhyme with all the other last lines.

author comment

Yeah, well, I didn’t get that chain.

I like your poem…

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Raywhitakerblog.wordpress.com
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Not a problem. I use this chain end rhyming sometimes and can understand when folks miss it.

author comment
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