Flashback Friday: Assignment 2, Whitman’s Civil War – Writing and Imaging Loss, Death, and Disaster


Trônes Wood: The Somme

They expected the heavens
to fall. The stars to wail.
Expected the night
to rupture white,
smite their eyes
and pour down ice.

They feared their own creation.
Now we fear our own forgiveness.

We’ve lost their lessons
in long green grass,
in wide meadows of rye,
and in tin-tune birdsong.
Those lessons, too porous,
lost on the honour of dead.

Years ago, I visited Deville and Trônes Wood where one the battles of The Somme took place. On that day, it was a quiet and restful place. Birch whispered like crinoline skirts. Birds singing in high voices. But it was once a bloody battlefield, the forest cut down by ammunition fire. Men dead, dying, forgotten, stepped-over, robbed … I remembered reading Birdsong. I shivered in the August heat. I shivered for days.

This is a repost for Fandango’s Flashback Friday of 30 July. Shared with @Experimentsinfc #APoemADay on Twitter ©Misky 2021 Written 30 July 2016 for University of Iowa’s Online Course, Whitman’s Civil War: Writing and Imaging Loss, Death, and Disaster, Class #2 assignment.


8 responses to “Flashback Friday: Assignment 2, Whitman’s Civil War – Writing and Imaging Loss, Death, and Disaster”

  1. The death and devastation of such battles would make anyone shiver. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the opportunity to share this one again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re very welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well written Misky. We lived in Northern France for almost ten years, so have visited a lot of the war graves and memorials in that area. The atmosphere is quite haunting. Your post brought it flooding back.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very haunting. Thank you, Hobbo.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Heart wrenching. Beautifully torn from history. A clamour of lost voices. Your explanation is as poetic as your poem. Pain. A shatter of peace. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So many lives lost, I remember my dad talking about what happened in the first world war. Probably stories he was told by his brother, who enlisted when he was 17. Powerful poem, thankyou for sharing.


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