Angela L. Burke

Rookie (1966 / Memphis Tennessee)

The Ghost Of Sweetgrass Field- A Southern Tale - Poem by Angela L. Burke

Once there was a field of sweetgrass
Where a lonely oak tree stood.
And underneath it's branches
Stood a picket fence of wood.
The gate had long been missing.
It's paint had chipped away.
Four tiny headstones stood there,
Where three babes and Mama lay.

A little girl named Bonnie,
A little girl named Sue,
And a little babe named Emily,
She lived nine months past age two.
The three little ones were sisters.
They all died on the same day,
In the year of 1863,
The seventeenth of May.

The story was, their Papa,
He had gone away to fight.
Their Mama, she had begged him
Not to go, with all her might.
But he'd kissed each one on the forehead.
He'd kissed Mama on the lips.
He said, ' I'll be back in no time,
It'll be a real short trip.'

' I'll be back beside you
before you can blink an eye.
This war won't last six months I bet,
Be big girls, and don't cry.'
But their Papa never came back
And they never heard a word.
Their Mama, she was left alone
To raise her three small girls.

Times were tough in those days.
There were thieves at every turn.
And what those Yankees didn't steal,
They'd turn around and burn.
A trigger happy soldier,
Shot Mama in the chest,
When they'd tried to burn her house down
And she'd tried strongly to protest.

Her three little angels
Hiding underneath the bed,
Were trapped by blinding smoke
And met their tragic deaths
Their tiny little bodies
Were placed in Sweetgrass Field
By the same Yankee soldier
Whom their Mama he had killed.

Claimed he hadn't ment no killin.
Claimed he only ment to warn her.
But when he heard those children scream
Guilt tore his heart asunder.
So he built a picket fence
In a square around their beds
And he planted a small oak
For some shade above their heads

He was found in in Sweetgrass Field
With a bullet to his head
Rumor has it, he's the one
Who walks among the dead.
They say, he guards the graveyard
As penance for his sins
In hope that maybe someday,
God will forgive, and let him in.

You can see him in the moonlight
Walking with his head hung low.
He cannot leave their graveside.
He has no where to go.
So, until the Day of Judgement
To his punishment, he yields
That's how I recollect the story,
Of The Ghost, of Sweetgrass Field.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, June 2, 2011

Poem Edited: Friday, June 3, 2011

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