06 November 2013

Song of the Raven - An 1864 Poem

A raven sat on a blood-stained stone
And pecked away at a fleshless bone,
Singing his song in a raven's tone,
That echoed wild as a spirit's moan —
War! War! War!
Then he flapped his wings and hopped away
Over the ground of the dreadful fray,
In search of more nutritious prey,
Still shouting aloud his ominous lay —
War! War! War!
Still flapping his wings he hopped around
To a from stretched on the ground,
A human frame on an ancient mound,
Still shouting aloud the doleful sound —
War! War! War!
Then lighting there on the hero's breast,
Where a form of beauty once found rest —
Where a fond affection was ever blest —
He cried as he plumed his raven crest —
War! War! War!
From the mouldering flesh was torn apart
With a raven's skill and a raven's art,
Till the evil bird had reached the heart,
Crying again with an angry start —
War! War! War!
The heart that had once so proudly beat
In the quiet home or busy street,
With its hopes of life, was a raven's meat,
Mixed was the song with the morsel sweet —
War! War! War!
When the red moon lighted up the east,
The bird of song prolonged his feast,
With his idle time from Satan leased,
And hoarsely croaked like a savage beast —
War! War! War!
And with a fiendish pride he sank his beak,
Tearing the flesh from the manly cheek,
Swallowing still each quivering fleak,
Whilst the echoes catch his angry shriek —
War! War! War!
Then he lifts his head of the blackest dye,
The blood-stained beak strikes the hero's eye,
And in echoes reaching to the sky
Still hoarser comes the raven's cry—
War! War! War!
That cheek, that eye so kindly smiled
With a loving trust so pure and mild,
To bless perhaps, a wife or child,
Was food for the bird that sang so wild —
War! War! War!
September 15, 1864. Maysville Weekly Bulletin 3(13): 4.