Saturday, April 24, 2010

Facing West Toward The Wilderness

Letter Home: April 24, 1862

Dearest Marianna,

Last week, our first fights took the life from two boys in our unit. We were north of Fredericksburg on the road near Miss Lucy Payne’s home on the night of April 18. The Federals lost thirty boys beneath the moonlight. All watched the same moon as they closed their eyes.

As we left Fredericksburg, the bridges were destroyed and we are now camped at Guiney’s Station, where I am watching that moon once more, thinking about a happier time when you and I met Miss Lucy in Fredericksburg, when you had your carte de visite made at the Portrait Gallery. I shall keep that picture close tonight as I prepare to sleep, and this night, as every night, I will hold my compass up to my lantern light so I am facing west toward the Wilderness; to be sure I sleep facing you, my love.

So, no more tonight.

I still remain
Yours, beyond the moon.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Colony Collapse

Journal Entry, April 7, 1861:

Colony collapse has finally hit the hive.

It appears that Fort Sumter is the final fuse;
I can hear the explosions before they even begin.
Am I among the many
that ask themselves;
is this all I have learned;
birth and death, and birth and death,
and birth.
Is this it;
all I could learn.
Born again and born again;
I long to be born anew;
to stop repeating the same words,
the same ideas,
the same thoughts.
Every five seconds; a thought, a rememberance,
an idea; perhaps that sounds impressive,
but it is only a chattering
in my mind,
in my sleep,
in my waking;
every five seconds.
A new idea; no.
A new thought; no.
The same thoughts, the same ideas,
the same learning that did not work yesterday.
Seventeen thousand thoughts a day.
Is this all I have learned;
is this all we have learned.
Another war; another one
to blame, to hate.
Will we ever be born anew?