A Thought

By Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard 1823–1902
Falling leaves and falling men!
    When the snows of winter fall,
And the winds of winter blows,
    Will be woven Nature’s pall.
 
Let us, then, forsake our dead;
    For the dead will surely wait
While we rush upon the foe,
    Eager for the hero’s fate.
 
Leaves will come upon the trees;
    Spring will show the happy race;
Mothers will give birth to sons—
    Loyal souls to fill our place.
 
Wherefore should we rest and rush?
    Soldiers, we must fight and save
Freedom now, and give our foes
    All their country should—a grave!

Source: “Words for the Hour”: A New Anthology of American Civil War Poetry, edited by Faith Barrett and Cristanne Miller (University of Massachusetts Press, 2005)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard 1823–1902

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Death, Time & Brevity, Nature, Spring, Winter, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Quatrain, Rhymed Stanza

Biography

Poet, fiction writer, and essayist Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard was born and raised in Mattapoisset, Massachusetts. The daughter of a shipbuilder, Stoddard was educated at Wheaton Female Seminary. She married poet Richard Stoddard in 1851 and together they had three children, two of whom died as infants. The Stoddards’ New York City home was a gathering place for local poets, and Elizabeth began to submit her own poetry, . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Time & Brevity, Nature, Spring, Winter, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Quatrain, Rhymed Stanza

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.