Kim Barney

Gold Star - 169,686 Points (Oct 6 / I was born in a bank - - my mother went there and made a deposit)

River Ran Red - Poem by Kim Barney

The Union troops were on the left,
the Rebels on the right.
Both sides prepared their cannonballs
and muskets for the fight.

A little skirmish was in store,
at least that's what they thought;
but there would never any more
be such a battle fought!

Now with the dawn the battle's on;
the guns begin to sound,
and before long there is a throng
of bodies on the ground.

Both sides expected victory
would be forthcoming soon
and were most surprised when they realized
it was already noon.

The bodies fell and landed not
upon the grass or ground,
for there was not a single spot
still empty to be found.

Instead the bodies piled there
upon each other deep
as each began to undertake
his last, eternal sleep.

The hillside now was drenched in blood,
could not hold any more,
and so into the stream it flowed,
all of that excess gore.

'Twas twenty thousand fell that day,
and yet two thousand more.
The stream ran red from all the dead
who fell there near the shore.

Major General George McClellan
led those arrayed in blue.
Had he not been so cautious,
the war would have been through.

For General Lee began to flee
and George just let him go,
his troops too tired to pursue
his almost conquered foe.

Who won the fight? Nobody won!
It seems that both sides lost.
Somebody's brother, someone's son- -
Oh, what an awful cost!

The battlefield is peaceful now,
so solemn and so still,
yet one can almost see somehow
those bodies on that hill.

Their voices cry up from the soil,
Yes, I can hear them plain.
Such wasted effort, wasted toil,
Why did we die in vain?

Topic(s) of this poem: war


Poet's Notes about The Poem

The Battle of Antietam, also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, took place on September 17,1862 near Sharpsburg, Maryland and Antietam Creek. It was the first major battle of the American Civil War to take place on Union soil and also the bloodiest single-day battle in American history.
The official toll was 22,717 dead, wounded, and missing.
Confederate Major General Robert E. Lee was outnumbered two to one, but used his entire army, while McClellan sent in less than three fourths of his, enabling Lee to fight the Federals to a standstill.
At the end of the day McClellan was informed that Lee was trying to slip away into Virginia. McClellan chose not to follow him, claiming that his troops were too tired, but he had over a fourth of his troops that had seen no action at all!
The war should have ended on that very day. Instead it dragged on for years.
I have been to the battlefield a few times. It is a sobering place.

finished writing 20 December 2014
Recife, Pernambuco, Brasil

Comments about River Ran Red by Kim Barney

  • Drtony BrahminDrtony Brahmin (6/22/2019 1:15:00 PM)

    Who won the fight? Nobody won!
    It seems that both sides lost.
    Somebody's brother, someone's son- -
    Oh, what an awful cost! war makes no sense. but even now we are tending towards it.
    thank u for this great description of pain and sufferings and death. tony
    (Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
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  • Rory Houlihan (4/8/2019 3:56:00 PM)

    A beautifully crafted poem.///// (Report)Reply

    Kim Barney(4/8/2019 9:08:00 PM)

    Thanks, Rory. I was quite pleased when I finished this one.

    4 person liked.
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  • Maryellen Smith (9/18/2018 9:37:00 AM)

    This is beautiful. Probably no poem about war has ever touched me they way this one did. It has a kind of Flanders Fields feel to it. Thank you so much for posting this! (Report)Reply

    Kim Barney(9/18/2018 11:31:00 AM)

    Thanks, Maryellen. I get a little choked up when I re-read this poem myself. Having been to this battlefield a few times makes it a special place for me.

    11 person liked.
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  • Jez BurlJez Burl (8/1/2018 8:19:00 AM)

    This is a splendid write...vividly crafted...I would like to take this opportunity to thank you so much for commenting on my poem, Even If It Takes Forever. (Report)Reply

    Kim BarneyKim Barney(9/18/2018 11:28:00 AM)

    Thank you for the great comment, Jez. Comments are my only payment.

    11 person liked.
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  • Khalida Bano Ali (6/25/2018 10:05:00 AM)

    A page from American Civil War, an impressive write. (Report)Reply

    Kim BarneyKim Barney(9/18/2018 11:27:00 AM)

    Thank you, Khalida. I appreciate the comment.

    12 person liked.
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  • Bharati NayakBharati Nayak (8/8/2017 2:40:00 AM)

    Who won the fight? Nobody won!
    It seems that both sides lost.
    Somebody's brother, someone's son- -
    Oh, what an awful cost!

    The battlefield is peaceful now,
    so solemn and so still,
    yet one can almost see somehow
    those bodies on that hill.

    Their voices cry up from the soil,
    Yes, I can hear them plain.
    Such wasted effort, wasted toil,
    Why did we die in vain? - - - -A very well written poem.It may be the story of many wars fought on this earth..We question - For what purpose this blood shed and at what cost?
    (Report)Reply

    Kim BarneyKim Barney(6/25/2018 6:10:00 PM)

    Thank you for the comment, Bharati. It is very much appreciated.

    14 person liked.
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  • Bri EdwardsBri Edwards (7/25/2017 4:51:00 PM)

    Again i am taking this for a showcase: August 2017

    bri :)

    Thanks
    (Report)Reply

    Kim BarneyKim Barney(7/25/2017 6:21:00 PM)

    Okee dokee.
    Thanks, Bri.

    15 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Bri EdwardsBri Edwards (11/16/2015 10:30:00 PM)

    make that SECTION D for this one (over 50 lines long) . bri :) (Report)Reply

    21 person liked.
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  • Bri EdwardsBri Edwards (11/16/2015 10:28:00 PM)

    favorite stanza:

    Who won the fight? Nobody won!
    It seems that both sides lost.
    Somebody's brother, someone's son- -
    Oh, what an awful cost! ............................... shit!

    and this is clever to suggest the words spoken by the dead:

    Such wasted effort, wasted toil,
    Why did we die in vain?

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    engrossing tale. and nice rhyming. thanks. this goes to MyPoemList, AND also (with Bird Eat Bird World) shall go into November's a showcase for PH poets. this one in Section B, and 'birds' is already in Section A.

    thanks. :) bri [welcome back from Brazil to the good old U.S. of A.]
    (Report)Reply

    21 person liked.
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  • Wes VoglerWes Vogler (11/5/2015 9:12:00 PM)

    Well written, young feller .... Thank you. I never read this sort of thing but the momentum carried me along. Only way I can explain it is it must be pretty well crafted. On I go to more. (Report)Reply

    21 person liked.
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  • Jan Moore (7/5/2015 6:42:00 PM)

    Loved it. Wonderfully done. (Report)Reply

    23 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Grace JessenGrace Jessen (1/16/2015 12:56:00 AM)

    One of your best poems! I just read The Lincoln Hypothesis by Timothy Ballard which offers new insight into the Civil War and why it dragged on. Perhaps those men did not die in vain. I also read about McClellan and his sympathies which was why Lincoln eventually fired him. He ran against Lincoln in the next election. (Report)Reply

    25 person liked.
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  • Grace JessenGrace Jessen (1/2/2015 8:11:00 PM)

    Well done! Very touching. (Report)Reply

    24 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Joyce Barnson (12/23/2014 2:37:00 PM)

    You have captured that sobering feeling in your poetry. So much war through history and all of it seems so senseless. Thank you. (Report)Reply

    24 person liked.
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Poem Submitted: Saturday, December 20, 2014

Poem Edited: Saturday, January 19, 2019


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