Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Fear of the 49th Regiment - NaPoWriMo 12/30

Back for a 12th day in a row! I know I'm playing the part of a poet, complete with craftier-than-thou pretentiousness, but I'll admit I've never written this consistently before. 12 days down and I'm not running on fumes yet, I must be a better poet than I thought.

For today's poem I decided to take NaPoWriMo.net up on their prompt, which actually coincides well with an event today marks.
Spend a few moments examining an old photograph—a found image, a photo from childhood, an iconic shot from history—and give it a title. Then put the photo aside and write a poem using the title. (Source: Poets and Writers).
Since today is about nostalgia, as well as the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War, I figured why not marry the two for today's poem? So, today's poem, number 12 of 30.

The Fear of the 49th Regiment

I’ve seen the earth erupt,
    seen it splash smoke-choked air with
soil
       as if it were water,
seen the field upturned by fire,
     feeding the diffident to
            distant physicians
                   in cannon-barrel caskets.

I’ve seen legs abandon a body,
emigrating for the field’s
   greener pastures.
It can all change so quickly.
These boot-clad confidences can crack
in an instant, suddenly
just the brittle reminders
        of all a little lead can do.

I’ve seen men unmade by this,
     the damned hailstone of
          God that it is.
All it takes is an opportune spark
           and heads vanish
      like we’re here lopping daisies.
I’ve seen ugliness.
I’ll not deny the gouts I’ve seen,
the veinal yield of victory –
ugly
    as ugly as the upturn
at the corner of my mouth
       each time our cannon shouts.

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