Robert Kirkland Kernighan
A Grave In The Sunshine - Poem by Robert Kirkland Kernighan
His was a chance to make his grave
'Neath the storied altar high ;
But his heart was changed to a boy's again,
When they whispered that he must die.
His thoughts flew back to his native hills,
In their wonderful emerald sheen ;
Then he asked to sleep where the sunshine falls,
And the beautiful grass grows green.
He asked no grave in a chancel dim
No place in the shadowed gloom :
He wanted the birds to sing their songs
And chant o'er his sunlit tomb.
He gave his life to his country's God,
And he fought in that battle well ;
No wonder he asked for the grassy sod,
In a place where the sunshine fell.
They who knew the old man most
Were those who loved him best,
And none will wonder, who knew him well,
At their old friend's last request.
They '11 take him out from the chancel dim,
The pillared aisles between,
And lay him down in a sunlit bed,
Where the beautiful grass grows green.
Pallida niors with equal step,
At palace and cabin door,
Calls forth the priest or peasant
To the shadowless evermore.
And so he came to the good old man,
In the midnight hours between,
And took him out from his princely couch
To a bed where the grass grows green.
His armor is hung on his palace wall ;
His good sword is sheathed for aye ;
And he sleeps the sleep of a peasant child,
As he waits for the judgment day.
And years from now they will tell how he,
When the shadow of death was seen,
Said, ' Bury me out in the sunshine bright,
Where the grass that I loved grows green.'
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