Tag Archives: American History

The Dust Bowl

The names and their faces
those times and their places,
the rundown rail depot
from where the last westbound left
in that dry-cracked goodbye summer
when water was heaven
and wells coughed their
grinding choking echo,
dust for a future
that had yet to be;
In those places and their times
heavy inked portraiture faces
made indistinguishable by
careless careworn thumb and fingers
of the ones chosen to
witness their passing,
so that records were kept
for whoever would come after
to research rediscover
those times and their places,
shrouded names and their faces
down by the rail depot
in that dry-cracked summer
when the westbound whistled its goodbye.

Lakota

The bitter dusts of war

the bitter dusts of famine,

pierce men’s skins

swirling in their hearts

with a coyote chorus

of forgotten words,

forgotten peace;

The Winds of corpses

and the Winds of souls,

howl with their forgotten promises

across our empty hunting grounds

where the promises of Buffalo

gave way to certainty of steel;

The blood of our braves

and the blood of heaven,

moisten barren earth

placing a veil of green

on the lamentation of widows

and their inheritance of dreams.

 

Once Upon A Time in The West

When that wind roars out of the South,
the one called the “Zephyr”,
it tears right through El Paso
with raw heat and anger;

Blasting like buckshot
in saloon bar brawls,
it stampedes droves of tumbleweed
herding it like cattle;

Zephyrs sweep away everything,
except memories and their re-telling
that clatter,that chatter across
strung out continental wires;

Informing city readers a day later
of some gunfight someplace so far away,
that the retelling of it
enobles the mythical participants;

three cadavers, jackets buttoned
silver coins placed over their eyes,
lined-up one,two,three
for the Wm.H.Walker Camera;

The faces of Pat Garrett and William H. Bonney
absent from that white and black portrait,
they got paid their double gold eagles
and rode off.

( A previous version was posted 21/6/2011 )

Lamentations

Lemonade on the verandah after supper,
discussing Rousseau and Voltaire
before retiring to the soft embrace
of an easy langour;

Expecting tomorrow and its harvest
of promise,the lush savannah
the tall sheaves and sturdy horses,
and yet that tomorrow never came;

No matter how much we believed
and what we believed was enough,
but what they believed was much more,
we recall with wounding monotony
those men of honour
whose sabres broke too soon,
those chivalric figures whose
steeds wearied in the long campaign;

We recall those shards of splendour smashed,
held captive in museum-cased aspic,
marble,ballroom,chandelier,satin,lace,and
the haunting echo of a terpsichorean melody
vanished and gone into The Wilderness;

Mene mene tekel upharsin
those heirs of promise,
weighted in the balance
and found wanting;

The visions of Daniel,
the words of Ezekiel,
prophetic and predestined,
and…

Lemonade on the verandah after supper,
discussing Rousseau and Voltaire
before awakening to
the dawn of a new day,
resplendent,
Confederate
and grey.

LAMENTATIONS can be read at www.destinypoets.co.uk

Posted by Louis Kasatkin on Saturday, 5 August 2017

Stonewall Jackson ( 1863 )

Under midnight Judas-Moon

a lanterned kiss betrayed you,

borrowed prayers hushed futile wrath

as dreams of glory

into nightmares fled;

Gethsemanied tears doused your legend

and washed away its Southern thrall

conjured from stallions’ swirling dust;

Napoleon nor Hannibal could excel

your Grey tornadoes’ vengeful wake,

as with sabred ploughshares across

bloodied soil they furrowed

in the season of storms,

Dixie’s glory harvesting the sheaves of pity

until your banshees could vent

no more their burning rage,

doused that night under Judas-Moon

its lanterned kiss proferred too soon.

Footnote:
Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson (January 21, 1824 – May 10, 1863) was a Confederate general during the American Civil War, and the best-known Confederate commander after General Robert E. Lee.[3] His military career includes the Valley Campaign of 1862 and his service as a corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia, under Robert E. Lee. Confederate pickets accidentally shot him at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. The general survived but lost an arm to amputation; he died of complications from pneumonia eight days later. His death was a severe setback for the Confederacy, affecting not only its military prospects, but also the morale of its army and of the general public. Jackson in death became an icon of Southern heroism and commitment, and became a mainstay in the pantheon of the “Lost Cause”.[4]

Military historians consider Jackson to be one of the most gifted tactical commanders in U.S. history.[5] His Valley Campaign and his envelopment of the Union Army’s right wing at Chancellorsville are studied worldwide, even today, as examples of innovative and bold leadership. He excelled as well in other battles: the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas), where he received his famous nickname “Stonewall”; the Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Manassas); and the battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg.