Tuesday, January 18, 2011

For The Union Dead

Words from Robert Lowell,
Photos from Green-wood, Brooklyn...

Relinquunt Omnia Servare Rem Publicam.
On a thousand small town New England greens
the old white churches hold their air
of sparse, sincere rebellion; frayed flags
quilt the graveyards of the Grand Army of the Republic.
The stone statutes of the abstract Union Soldier
grow slimmer and younger each year-
wasp-waisted, they doze over muskets
and muse through their sideburns…
 Shaw's father wanted no monument
except the ditch,
where his son's body was thrown
and lost with his "niggers."

The ditch is nearer.

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