Ethel Lynn Eliot Beers

(1827-1879 / the United States)

Company K. - Poem by Ethel Lynn Eliot Beers

There's a cap in the closet,
Old, tattered, and blue,
That would be little value,
It may be, to you;
But a crown jewel-studded
Could not buy it to-day,
With its letters of honor,
Brave 'Company K.'

The head that is sheltered
Needs shelter no more;
Dead heroes make holy
The trifles they wore;
so a wreath better winning
Than laurel and bay
Seems the cap of the soldier,
Marked 'Company K.'

For eyes have looked steady
Its visor beneath
O'er the work of the reaper,
Whose harvest is Death.
Let the muster-roll meagre
So mournfully say
How forcement in danger
West 'Company K'—

Whose footstep unbroken
Came up to the town,
Where rampart and bastion
Looked fearfully down—
Who, closing up breaches,
Yet kept on their way,
Till gone downward pointing
Faced 'Company K.'

Like cameras fearful
Stood cannon aloof,
Till the signal was given
To strike off a proof
Of the soul of the soldier,
To send up to Him.
(Pray God that he knew them,
Though bloody and dim!)

Who faltered or shivered?
Who shunned battle-smoke?
Whose fire was uncertain?
Whose battle-line broke?
Go ask it of History
Years from to-day,
And the record shall tell you,
Not 'Company K.'

Tho' my darling is sleeping
To-day with the dead,
And daisies and clover
Bloom over his head,
I smile, tho' I'm crying
As I lay it away,
That battle-worn cap
Lettered 'Company K.'


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012



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