Pieces People Ask For/At Arlington
The broken column, reared in air,
To him who made our country great,
Can almost cast its shadow where
The victims of a grand despair
In long, long ranks of death await
The last loud trump, the judgment sun,
Which comes for all, and soon or late
Will come for those at Arlington.
In that vast sepulchre repose
The thousands reaped from every fray;
The men in blue who once uprose
In battle front to smite their foes —
The Spartan bands who wore the gray.
The combat o'er, the death-hug done,
In summer blaze or winter's snows,
They keep the truce at Arlington.
And, almost lost in myriad graves
Of those who gained the unequal fight,
Are mounds that hide Confederate braves,
Who reck not how the north wind raves,
In dazzling day or dimmest night.
O'er those who lost and those who won
Death holds no parley which was right—
Jehovah judges Arlington.
The dead had rest; the dove of peace,
Brooded o'er both with equal wings;
To both had come that great surcease,
The last omnipotent release
From all the world's delirious stings,
To bugle deaf and signal gun
They slept, like heroes of old Greece,
Beneath the glebe at Arlington.
And in the Spring's benignant reign,
The sweet May woke her harp of pines?
Teaching her choir a thrilling strain
Of jubilee to land and main.
She danced in emerald down the lines,
Denying largess bright to none.
She saw no difference in the signs
That told who slept at Arlington.
She gave her grasses and her showers
To all alike who dreamed in dust;
Her song-birds wove their dainty bowers
Amid the jasmine buds and flowers,
And piped with an impartial trust.
Waifs of the air and liberal sun!
Their guileless glees were kind and just
To friend and foe at Arlington.
And 'mid the generous spring there came
Some women of the land who strove
To make this funeral field of fame
Glad as the May God's altar flame
With rosy wreaths of mutual love.
Unmindful who had lost or won,
They scorned the jargon of a name—
No North, no South, at Arlington.
James R. Randall.