Place of Refuge

Place of Refuge

17 September 2012

Antietum: Bloody Road

I woke up this morning to a story on NPR about
The Battle of Antietum, which occurred
September 17, 1862.
As I listened, my mind began to compose
some loose lines and contemplations:

(picture from NPR website; entire story at the link.)


Antietum --
your innocent lands
still recall the
men whose blood you drank 
when they collided, driven by devotion to each
his own's belief in personal liberty:

Some, believing in freedom to all,
                               no matter their color
                                        or vessel for arriving
                                                     on America's shores.
Some, believing that the dark and enslaved
                                     were less than men,
                                                       and, as such,
                                                   deserved to remain so as they served
                                                  the economy of tobacco.

Antietum --
two forces clashed in a 
Bloody Road, each force driven
by his own idea,
a whisper,
a thought.
Thousands lost
their lives; the idea
of equality ruled,
and history turned
towards liberation.

(from: )

So sad we no longer care
for history.   So sad
we no longer require
our youth to learn
to embody the lessons
of our heredity.  Instead,
we barely teach them
to get by; we teach to take a test,
then hurry home filled
with forgetfulness, anticipating
for the next episode of Jersey Shore,
or the next gossipy tweet.

( from: blogofshame )

History cannot be tweeted,
but history MUST be known,
as we stand today on the brink
of another ideological fissure,
right now embodied in
a battle over who should run
this land:
a Black Man
a Mormon;

a Son of Slaves and Idealistic Liberals,
a Son of Those Who Believe America is
The Promised Land.

But what promise is this?
Where guns are hidden and

divisions are bitter,
the Bloody Road may be
just beyond the bend.

Our history can tell us how
to avoid it, and recent memory
of murdered diplomat,
a murder driven by 
to detail can stand 
as omen.

We have 
no time to lose;
the only answer is to restore
our public memory,
and with it, our ability to choose, 
and our integrity.

1 comment:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Good poem. History is indeed in a very sorry state these days.