The haunting strains of 'Ashokan Farewell' keep racing through my brain.
'Tis a fitting requiem for those who bore the agonizing pain,
Of bidding a sad farewell at many a humble cabin door,
When young men were called to serve in the American Civil War.
Its poignant theme wafts as a gentle zephyr o'er the countless graves,
Of gallant men who faced Death's Scythe in unfaltering waves.
Men who wore either blue or gray and unselfishly gave their all,
Lie sleeping 'neath hallowed soil awaiting Gabriel's clarion call!
Each time I hear those mournful chords played on the violin,
Though 'tis decades later, I feel sadness for grieving next-of-kin.
And for their heroes left upon the field of strife, lonely and forlorn.
'Ashokan Farewell' is a sad lament for those left behind to mourn.
Every time I hear that tune, I'm reminded and left to wonder,
Why brothers tore this nation, this beacon of hope, asunder.
Thanks to one man's vision and unshakeable resolve,
A united and stronger nation would once again evolve!
Antietam, Bull Run, Manassas, Spotsylvania, and Gettysburg,
Fort Sumpter, Shiloh and the formidable bluffs of Vicksburg:
O'er these now peaceful battlegrounds, once ravaged by shot and shell,
At eventide can be faintly heard the solemn dirge of 'Ashokan Farewell'!
('Ashokan Farewell' was written by Jay Unger in 1982. It was later used as the title theme for the PBS 'Civil War Series'. To hear this haunting tune type 'Ashokan Farewell' in your search to enjoy a number of different renditions by various artists on YouTube.)
Robert L. Hinshaw served 30 years in the Air Force retiring in 1978 in the grade of Chief Master Sergeant. He began writing poetry in 2002 at age 72 and has composed over 1100 poems.