The Song of a Man and a Land

Back in 1938, I proudly carried the American flag for Scout Troop 18 in a parade led by Albert waving from an open convertible. He died at 109, the last Civil War veteran. Thirty years later I told about Woolson’s war in “The Song of a Man and a Land.” To read the whole poem, go to  t Here are the opening and closing passages:

I am the nation that gave to the World

The man who is called Abe Lincoln.
I watched legend born in fire-lit books,
River rafts, the smooth shovel slate.
Quiet myth, gaunt truth,
the sad portrait speaks
of Lincoln, Head of State.

I watched from a mountain my new people at war;
Homes torn, lands ravaged, men fell.
I grew sick from the stench of Andersonville
And the northern dungeons of hell.
Spades tore my sod,
The weight of the dead!
Men hid their shame in my soil.

Then peace. No, not peace, War never brings peace,
But a stupor before the next conflict.
Abe, tired, faced the task of mending his land,
But one shot was yet to be fired.
The last soldier to die in that most tragic war
Was the man from the cabin of logs.

Death-felled, yet Abe Lincoln stood tall,
North and South lowered flags that day.
The Union reborn in hearts called to mourn,
They wore blue coats and gray.
A dirge from the South,
A moan from the mouth
Of the people Abe Lincoln set free.
Men gathered the Clod,
Turned back the sod,
My earth folded close,
Abe was gone.

From the north Arctic snow
To the summer green South,
One flag, Abe’s flag, was unfurled
To remember God’s clod,
A new kind of man,
In a new kind of land in the World.
A mingling of earth and faith and breath
Wrought by God for the dark and the fair,
From bold hybrid seeds of hymn tunes and creeds,
Of courage and daring and prayer.
In the man, in the Land,
See the Book and the Cross.
Don’t lose them; freedom lies there.

Old Grandpa Lloyd