Watch Carla Christopher read an original Civil War poem

Part of the job of a poet laureate is to write and sometimes perform verse for special occasions and historical or cultural holidays.

York’s Poet Laureate, Carla Christopher, has written a poem called “June 28, 1863,” in the style of the Civil War era.

As part of the YDR’s coverage of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, watch her performance of “June 28, 1863″:

June 28, 1863

Read June 27, 2013, at City Hall to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Confederate Occupation of York and the raising of the Union Flag

In a land that knew no union
though men and women labored long
on a Sunday in a summer heat
with voices raised in song

a mayor of stalwart stride
and the tradesmen, standing strong
joined stout of heart shopkeepers
and fearless mothers with their young

Hand in hand and hip to hip
they formed the heartstrong line
with chins upheld and arms firm linked
they looked into the eyes

of six thousand Johnny Rebs
bullets polished to a shine
Revenge, the flower in their hearts
Vengeance, their marching time

A leaden silence weighed the air
We met them, glance for glance
A Major General come too early
said “We cannot take the chance”

To meet on smoky battlefield,
to spear with distant lance,
to close one’s eyes as wounded fall
crushed by the canon’s dance

takes not one half the mettle
as to meet with, eye to eye
the face of Death’s handmaiden
but keep weapon at your side

No blood would stain our children’s streets
We blared no trumpet cry
until they lowered rusty arms in shame
and said, “Pass this town by”

Where sledge and anvil met
and where the fiercest furnace roared
one hundred fifty years ago
we met Death at the door

For a cause deemed so noble
that to be civil meant a war
We joined our hands in unity
and preserved a town for evermore.

What do you think of Carla’s poem?

About Stacia M. Fleegal

York Daily Record multiplatform journalist. Degrees in creative writing from Lycoming College and Spalding University, and a coupla books with my name on them. Central PA native who came home after floating around for a while, but always grounded by words and the places and people I remember.
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One Response to Watch Carla Christopher read an original Civil War poem

  1. I love it. Carla is such a prolific wordsmith!

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