Monday, February 4, 2013

Fighting Shadows

“...A house divided against itself cannot stand”A.Lincoln

Between the darkness and the dawn
whirling dervish devils dance--
hear them cackle as they weave
 anxiety and fear to knots. There’s no reprieve
 from battles fought, even as the night moves on...

The raging storm was finally quelled
and in your words, a soothing balm
to calm a nation torn apart;
to reunite. The words instilled
a sense of hope with so much lost
at such high cost.  Not all agreed; small
seed of discontent became dissent
and in a rage a shot rang out…

The gift of eloquence is rare;
commanding presence rarer still.
yet in the shadow that you cast
two great armies had amassed…
So many people hated you for
changing lives accustomed to; yet when
surrender finally came you baffled them…
when punishment could be your claim
you sent them back to families
where they might heal and find some peace

…and from that shot that split the night
we hear your voice, we hear the call
to bear the standard that you bore.
through words that live forevermore:

“…With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right,  let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.” A.Lincoln

©   Ginny Brannan 2013 


I just finished reading the book "Killing Lincoln"by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, an amazing story that speaks of such an intelligent man who bore the weight of Civil War on his shoulders, Lincoln was a visionary seeing well past the war, past what was to what could be. He is said to have suffered from melancholia, and was haunted by frequent nightmares, one of which vividly depicted his death a full two weeks before he was shot. 
This is kind of an experimental piece playing with Free Verse and internal rhyme. It starts with Lincoln quote, first stanza is a dreamscape to recognize the nightmares that haunted Lincoln, leading into two stanzas of based on true facts, the fourth stanza a call to follow, the fifth a partial quote from Lincoln's Second Inaugural a short time before he was shot.
*Original image by author taken at Gettysburg Battle Reenactments 2007

Sharing at d'Verse Poets Pub Open Link Night Week #83.


  1. really nice write...we did the civil war not too long ago in us history is one of my fav presidents as well...i like your call to action in this as live up to what our forefathers knew was dear....

    1. Ha! Back in H.S. thought I knew everything there was to know about the Civil War because I'd read "Gone With The Wind!" Have found the older I get the more interested and fascinated I am about the leaders, and about this particular time in our history. There is much to be gleaned through the lessons of our past. BTW, Lincoln is a fave, but also find T.R. to be equally as fascinating (for different reasons).

    2. definitely understandable...smiles..i also have a place for TJ in my heart as well...or Lewis and Clark through him...smiles.

  2. cool bit of history...def. want to watch the lincoln movie as well.. curious to learn more about this fascinating man

  3. Thank you for the notes and process background ~ I have watched the movie played by Daniel Day Lewis and was very much taken with his foresight, and dedication to the country ~ His mark in history is large and never forgotten ~

  4. this could apply to so many nations...great lines...I'm thinking of my homeland ..n.ireland and how we need a touch of lincoln! thankyou

  5. This is a fine poem Ginny. Lincoln's legacy is the USA as we know it today, which is mostly a good thing. As for the quote, Lincoln was quoting too - it was Jesus who first said "A house divided against itself cannot stand," although he probably said it in Aramaic, not English :-)

    1. Lincoln always started his day by reading a passage from the bible, and often used scriptures in his speeches. Shame on me for not realizing it came from the bible first, and seems to be not from one book of the bible, but at least 3: Mark 3:25, Mathew 12:25, and Luke 11:17. Thank you for sharing this!! :-)

  6. Awwww Ginny....that gave me chills and brought a tear to my eye! Breathtaking and to hear it in your voice was stunning!

  7. Great write Ginny. Happy Birthday to Mr. L.

  8. Lincoln has always been one of my heroes. You did a good job in this of building off of his eloquent words. I wish history books for school were this smooth & soothing to read!

  9. This has a timelessness that goes beyond that particular war.... Words for us all to take to heart.

  10. war is horrific, it is good to learn that he did not glorify it. but that he thought that slavery was an important issue. great poem.


Thank you for reading my poetry and sharing your thoughts.