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How Green the Grass Should Grow

  shrewd in planning 
         or maybe mob-like 
       in execution 
    a nameless confederate major 
         forgotten, but in rank 
     waiting until the 
           briefest solice of 
              from Cowen's mouth 
      drew his sabre, leading 
         bloody yelling men 
        brown forms 
            over rough ground to 
         piles of dust 
           thrown together 
        in panice haste 
          'take the guns!' 
        -100 paces 

           union battery commander 
        it was seconds now 
           tide coming 
        -50 paces 
            called for 'double canister, 
               10 paces' (in anticipation) 
        this was their last round 
            to make it true 
       as the command escaped 
          with his heavy breath 
       his lieutenant fell 
            besid him 

     they were coming 
         those brown forms 
       fast, firing high 
          but not high enough 
       for a private 
             manning the gun 
         took three bullets 
       in his face 

     but the charge was rammed home 
          another fell upon 
             shot through both legs 
      death coming so quickly 

    the Major- 
         sabre raised 
       was over the breastworks 
            brown forms following 
       faster now 
          to take the guns 
        -30 paces 

    out of the smoke 
        the dismal rain pounding 
       of battle 
     a mounted General Hunt 
         forgetful of his rank 
      now a wild man 
        darting back and forth 
          firing at nothing 
       screaming sporatically 
         'see 'em! see 'em!' 

     maybe crying 
         maybe laughing 
     this was the climax 
            of everything 

        -15 paces 

    the union gunner 
        threw up his hands 
      not in cowardice 
       or last chance to 
     save face, body and limb 
          but to lower them 
     as to command 
             (it was 
        -10 paces 


         but was shot before 
       words could come, 
            fell across the trail of 
        the gun 

     the jesture was understood 
        and the five guns 
       spit flame and cannister 
           from heated mouths 
      so close 
          there was no need 
         for accuracy 

    memoirs will tell, 
       in poetic brilliance 
     of the red mist of 
    heat, maybe averted sunlight 
       through smoke 
     but these men 
       once with children, 
      wives and mothers 
          now hardly even 
       legs left for running away 
     or arms left for holding 
       clouds rising from their 
         own lifesblood 
     bodies and everything 

    when red misty clouds of 
        smoke lifted 
      as they slowly did 
         the few standing men 
     of Cowan's battery 
       opened fear-closed eyes 
     to the wretching site 
       of not one man 
           left standing