A Thought

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)
More Poems by Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard