Katharine Lee Bates

(1859-1929 / United States)

Above the Battle


Honor and pity for the smitten field,
The valorous ranks mown down like precious corn,
Whose want must famish love morn after morn,
Till Death, the good physician, shall have healed
The craving and the tearspent eyelids sealed.
Proud be the homes that for each cannon-torn,
Encrimsoned rampart have been left forlorn;
Holy the knells o'er fallen patriots pealed.

But they, above the battle, throng a space
Of starry silences and silver rest.
Commingled ghosts, they press like brothers through
White, dove-winged portals, where one Father's face
Atones their passion, as the ethereal blue
Serenes the fiery glows of east and west.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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