The Warriors Poem: Forget-Me-Not

FieldForgetMeNots

The Warriors Poem: Forget-Me-Not

Forget not that life is like a flower, which no sooner is blown than it begins to wither.

“THE beautiful little flower, commonly called ‘Forget-me-not’ blooms in luxuriant profusion on the graves of the heroes of Waterloo.”—Journal or a Private Gentleman.

Amid the fallen warriors’ tombs,
Where heroes’ ashes rot,
A lovely little flower there blooms—
The sweet “forget-me-not;”
It fair and beautiful appears,
Though sown “mid carnage, groans, and tears.

There are, whose mould’ring ashes lie
Where banners proudly sweep;
Where gilded scutcheons mock the eye,
And marble statues weep;
Oh! there is grief enough in stone,
But hearts that burst with sorrow none.

More holy far than these the spot
Where rest the warriors’ bones;
Though marble statues mark it not,
Nor monumental stones;
There needs no sculptural pile to tell
Where those who bled for freedom fell.

Oh! no—beneath her silent pall
Should dark oblivion hide
The fond remembrances of all
We hold most dear beside,
The flowers upon their graves forbid,
That their remembrance should be hid.

Their flowery epitaph is writ
Where Nature’s footsteps tread;
‘Twas Freedom’s self indited it,
Above too deathless dead;
And you may read upon the spot,—
“Forget-me-not—Forget-me-not.”

I ask no more—unstrung and broken
My feeble lyre—I crave
Of tender grief this one sweet token,
That on my lowly grave
These lovely flow’rets may appear.
Planted by those who loved me here.
— RHETA ROTAU St. John’s, March 17, 1829

IN MEMORY OF THE FALLEN By Luella Curran

Remember the Fallen

Remember the Fallen

IN MEMORY! By Luella Curran

Bring ye blossoms of the May,
For the brave beloved dead;
Tender memories rise to-day
O’er each fallen hero’s bed.

Wave the starry symbol dear,
They so loved and died to save,
O’er their rest, let memory’s tear
Consecrate the patriot’s grave.

Peace, fair child of victory,
Twines the olive with the palm—
Wed for them eternally,
Of their noble wounds the balm.

Thou, their country, proud and free,
Grateful bow thy star-crowned head;
They who shape thy destiny
Thrill at thy majestic tread!

Bring ye blossoms of the May,
Strew each humble soldier’s grave;
Liberty shall kneel to-day.
Honoring the true and brave.

Published in Good Housekeeping 1895.

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Field Cross

 

MEMORY’S WREATH by George B. Griffith

memorial-day2Memorial or Remembrance Day was originally began to honor the dead of the War between the States.

 

 

 

MEMORY’S WREATH

Memory’s wreath of white and red,
Of purest blue and green is spread,
Today, above the patriot dead,
In songs and story blest;
Nor do we grudge the fairest flowers
That oped and bloomed ‘neath Southern showers.
On this Memorial Day of ours,
Laid where the foemen rest.

For Peace has silenced bitter Hate,
The blue and gray together mate,
And by each other’s hearths have sate
Since the long strife was o’er.
Thank God for this! and from this day
May love and prayer keep clear the way,
And make us one in heart for aye—
One country evermore!

It was a woman’s tender thought;
Her slender hand the first wreath wrought,
And she a grateful Nation taught
To garland thus the dead;
So long as gallant knight shall ride
To win by valor lovely bride,
And music stirs the true and tried,
Shall this of her be said!

And when we vaunt of greatest fray.
We’ll ne’er forget that far away
Our wives and mothers prayed each day,
In safety God would keep
The soldier clad in gray or blue.
As comes Memorial Day anew
Let woman’s hand the flowers strew
Where battle heroes lie.
-George B. Griffith in Christian at Work.

MEMORIAL DAY (Formerly) DECORATION DAY 1895

DECORATION DAY.

Strong men fast asleep,
With coverlets wrought of clay,
Do soft dreams over you creep
Of friends who are here to-day?
Do you know, O men low lying
In the hard and chilly bed,
That we, the slowly dying,
Are giving a day to the dead?
Do you know that sighs for your deaths
Across our heart-strings play,
E’en from the last faint breaths
Of the sweet lipped month of May?
When you fell, at duty’s call,
Your fame it glittered high,
As leaves of the somber fall
Grow brighter, though they die;
Men of the silent bands,
Men of the half-told days,
Lift up your specter hands
And take our hearts bouquets.

Women whose rich graves deck
The work of strife’s red spade,
Shining wrecks of the wreck
This tempest of war has made,
You whose sweet, pure love
Round every suffering twined,
Whose hearts like the sky above
Bent o’er all human kind.
Who walked through hospital streets
‘Twixt white abodes of pain,
Counting the last heart beats
Of men who were slowly slain,
Whose deeds were so sweet and gracious,
Wherever your light feet trod,
That every step seemed precious,
As if it were that of God;
Whose eyes so divinely beamed,
Whose touch was so tender and true.
That the dying soldier dreamed
Of the purest love he knew.
O, martyrs of more than duty!
Sweet-hearted woman-braves!
Did you think in this day’s sad beauty
That we could forget your graves?

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Men who fell at a loss,
Who died ‘neath failure’s frown,
Who carried strife’s red cross
And gained not victory’s crown,
Whose long fight was so brave
That it won our sad applause,
Who sleep in a hero’s grave,
Though clutched by the corpse of a
Sleep sweet, with no misgiving,     [cause.
By bitter memories fed,
That we, your foes while living,
Can be your foes when dead.
Your fault shall not e’en be spoken—
You paid for it on the pall;
The shroud is forgiveness’ token,
And death makes saints of all.

Men of the dark-hued race,
Whose freedom meant—to die—
Who lie with pain wrought face
Upturned to the peaceful sky.
Whose day of jubilee,
So many years o’erdue,
Came—but only to be
A day of death to you.

Men who died in sight
Of the long-sought promised land.
Would that these flowers were bright
As your deeds are true and grand.
Boys, whose glossy hair
Grows gray in the age of the grave,
Who lie so humble there
Because you were strong and brave;
You whose lives cold set
Like a winter’s sun ill-timed,
Whose hearts ran down ere yet
The noon of your lives had chimed—

Do you know your fathers are near,
The wrecks of their pride to meet?
Do you know your mothers are here
To throw their hearts at your feet?
Do you know the maiden hovers
O’er you with bended knee.
Dreaming what royal lovers
Such lovers as you would be?
Ruins of youthful graces,
Strong buds crushed in the spring,
Lift up your phantom faces
And see the flowers we bring!

Sleep well, O sad-browed city!
Whatever may betide,
Not under a nation’s pity
But mid a nation’s pride.

The vines that round you clamber
Brightest shall be and best;
You sleep in the honor chamber,
Each one a royal guest.

And aye in realms of glory
Shine bright your starry claims—
Angels have heard your story,
And God knows all your names.
— Will Carleton