THE BATTLE AUTUMN OF 1862 by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

The flags of war like storm birds fly, The charging trumpets blow; Yet rolls no thunder in the sky, No earthquake strives below. And, calm and patient, Nature keeps Her ancient promises well, Though o'er her bloom and greenness sweeps, The battle's breath of hell. And still she walks in golden hours, Through harvest-happy farms, And still she wears her fruits and flowers Like jewels on her arms. What means the gladness of the plain, This joy of eve and morn, The mirth that shakes the bread of grain And yellow locks of corn? Ah! eyes may well be full of tears, And hearts with hate are hot; But even-paced come round the years, And nature changes not. She meets with smiles our bitter grief, With songs our groans of pain; She mocks with tints of flowers and leaf, The war-field's crimson stain. Still, in the cannon's pause, we hear Her sweet thanksgiving psalm; Too near to God for doubt or fear, She shares the eternal calm. She knows the seed lies safe below The fires that blast and burn; For all the tears of blood we sow She waits the rich return. She sees with clearer eye than ours The good of suffering born, The hearts that blossom like her flowers And ripen like her corn. Oh, give to us, in times like these, The vision of her eyes; And make her fields and fruited trees Our golden prophecies. Oh, give to us her finer ear; Above this stormy din, We, too, would hear the bells of cheer Ring peace and freedom in.

Soldier Life