Sunday, June 24, 2012

Thirsty Roots

Beautiful photographic art by Margaret Bednar of i&I

Hard to believe
that, on this golden field,
under lowering clouds,
this field 
ran red,
young soldiers 
lying amidst the bluebells,
screaming out 
in agony,
the ground rumbling
and heaving
under their feet,
from barrages
of these ancient cannons.

in extremis
young souls
departed from this earth
too soon. 

After the gunfire
faded away,
and the rest of
the raggedy boys
were finally 
heading home,
the earth began to heal.
it forgot
those blood-soaked days.

By the following summer,
bees buzzing at the blossoms,
all that was left
was this sad sentinel,
to remember the years
when their young screams 
rang out
across the land. 

Perhaps the wheat 
is a richer golden color
because so much
young blood
enriched its thirsty roots.

The Sunday Challenge at Real Toads is to choose one of Margaret Bednar's beautiful photos, and write a poem. I found the colors in this photo striking, and the cannon took me back to thoughts of the Civil War, and the suffering of those who fought in hand to hand combat in those early days.


  1. So very hard to think of those Civil War days and all the deaths....but if this war would not have been fought, what would our country have been like today? THAT I wonder.

  2. That picture is actually a challenge to write because it is steeped in history. I specially like the last stanza Sherry ~ So sad to think it was all red and blood years ago ~

    Happy Sunday ~

  3. Sherry, you have an amazing way of capturing spot on and emotively as if you'd been witness to such sad loss. I'm always moved by your poetry...your very heart goes onto the page and I can feel it.

    I love the contrast that happens in this:

    "young soldiers
    lying amidst the bluebells,
    screaming out
    in agony"

    So super

  4. Sherry, my first instinct was to write to this image ... I am glad I didn't. Nothing could compare to what you have created. Beautiful, raw, real, heartbreaking.
    War is Hell.

  5. A sad episode Sherry! You've done well to vividly lament all the insanity that only left remnants long forgotten by the following summer. Great write!


  6. Such an emotive piece of writing: I could hear the echo of those screams, and the contrasting sound of bees about their business. Between the juxtaposition lies history.

  7. Sherry, the image is haunting and suits well your words and what they invoke in all of us who question the sanity of war and its purpose. Strangely enough, I watched War Horse with my granddaughter the other night, and your words are an echo of those scenes as well.


  8. Yes, what a contrast there is between the screams of the wounded and dying young men and all the blood and carnage and that of new life growing, flowers and bees all buzzing with life.
    This is an amazing write Sherry. Deeply moving because of all those young lives lost. I too wonder what the USA would look like today if the Union hadn't won. Very, very different I expect, especially for black folks.

  9. Your writing is so truthful. You capture the pain and suffering of young ones in war. So sad.

  10. I am enjoying looking over your blog, and I really enjoyed this. A very moving tribute Sherry!

  11. Moving poem Sherry. As you know, I chose the same one and I think our thoughts are in harmony on this issue.

  12. Nature certainly has a way of renewing itself but I'm not sure it ever really forgets. This reminds me so much of a trip to the battlefields of Gettysburg as a teenager...even though the fields were green and quiet, there was still that undercurrent of desperation and death that just shook me to the core. A very powerfully written poem!

  13. Sometimes it is hard to believe that our country went through civil war. It is so heartbreaking. This is a beautiful piece filled with such emotion.

    I nominated you for an award.

  14. A fine job indeed that you have done. And I knew that you were to link the blood with new growth ... I just knew it.

  15. It is hard to believe, Sherry... and we do forget so quickly. What a beautiful tribute you've written to the many who died in that field, and I love the final stanza - it's as if the earth's remembering is reflected in the richer colour of wheat...

  16. Perhaps the wheat
    is a richer golden color

    I like to think that is so. I gazed up the row of corn an thought, men stood there, shot down in rows, fell where they stood and where buried not far beyond the field... and many where buried in the fields. So, do the fields gather their life from the bodies below and grow a more golden color because of that?

    Do you know they called truces to gather their dead and wounded. Shook hands, chatted a bit, and then returned to their "sides" and started killing all over again? It was captured thus by a sketch artist...

    Thank you for your compassionate, evocatively sensitive poem.

  17. A very heartfelt is really soaked in a deep thoughtful emotion...

  18. it breaks my heart! beautifully written though such a difficult subject.


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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!