Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SOMEBODY'S FATHER, by EFFIE WALLER SMITH



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SOMEBODY'S FATHER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Twas after the battle of gettysburg
Last Line: "july 3, '63."
Subject(s): American Civil War; Death; Fathers; Gettysburg Campaign (1863); U.s. - History; Dead, The; Gettysburg, Battle Of


'Twas after the battle of Gettysburg,
Closing slowly was the day,
As we were tenderly bearing
The dead and wounded away.

On the outskirts of the battle-field
Was the scene pathetic to see;
'Twas a soldier dead, seated on the ground
With back against a tree.

In his hand he held some object
His eyes on it fixed steadfast, --
An object that must have been dear to him,
That his eyes had looked on last.

As we drew nearer to him we noticed
'Twas a picture, that was all.
A picture of two sweet children,
Two children pretty and small.

Man tho' I was, and knowing well
What the trials of a soldier are.
And used to carnage and bloodshed
Through these many years of war;

The sight of that man who had feasted
His eyes on his little dears
While his eyes were dimmed in the death-haze,
To my softened eyes brought tears.

In our throats we felt lumps gathering
(There were six of us in the crowd),
And mist was coming before our sight
As we stood with heads low bowed.

And I thought, as I stood and saw him,
Of my far-off Northern home,
Where a loving wife watched for me,
And a baby boy alone.

So we stood and looked at the soldier,
With the picture gripped in his hand,
And instinctively each others' thoughts
We seemed to understand.

We dug a grave for the hero
And calmly we laid him to rest,
With the picture of the children
Laid lovingly on his breast.

A sad and touching scene it was,
We spoke not a single word;
No mournful beat of muffled drum,
No musket shot was heard.

And by his lonely pillow
I inscribed upon the tree
Where we'd found him: "Somebody's Father,
July 3, '63."





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