Shiloh – A Requiem – Poem by Herman Melville
Skimming lightly, wheeling still, (7: 1, 3, 5, 7)
The swallows fly low (5: 2, 4)
Over the field in clouded days, (8: 1, 4, 6, 8)
The forest-field of Shiloh — (7: 2, 4, 6)
Over the field where April rain (8: 1, 4, 6, 8)
Solaced the parched one stretched in pain
Through the pause of night (5
That followed the Sunday fight
Around the church of Shiloh–
The church so lone, the log-built one,
That echoed to many a parting groan
And natural prayer
Of dying foemen mingled there —
Foemen at morn, but friends at eve —
Fame or country least their care:
(What like a bullet can undeceive!)
But now they lie low,
While over them the swallows skim,
And all is hushed at Shiloh.
Opening wide, rolling round,
that cloud from jostled frames
–that billowed cauliflower–
blooming now where just before,
sure and pretty, towers tall
as steel as glass as glint
funneled passion and her minds.
Through the pause of light
that followed the secret fight
’round the folk of New York–
a folk so rich in towns and creeds–
who’d echoed together in good in bad.
Their natural prayer
ignored by cinch-down certainty
that bade the core evaporate
and edges melt to scream.
Oh lie us low, let it go–
the discussions radiate
all through a forgiveful heaven.
AMW’s writing exercise