United States, War Department. Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1891 (2 vols.).
history, poems, poetry

Morning’s Maul

Some nights…

Naomi Shihab Nye,“Hello”

Some mornings shy at the dawn,
some claw the night to death.
We slid into Friday
like a Sunday afternoon.

But soon it baked
our clay in blood.

Mr. Jones scattered
all the birds
with his caw,

while the dust danced
down sunlit slides
and the morning
the dawn.

© rl busséll 2021 – All rights reserved.


July 3, 1863 “The town of Gettysburg looked as if some universal moving day had been interrupted by catastrophe.” But there was only one documented civilian death during the battle: Ginnie Wade (also widely known as Jennie), 20 years old, was hit by a stray bullet that passed through her kitchen in town while she was making bread.

Bruce Catton

July 1-3, 1863, one-hundred and fifty-eight years ago, the Battle of Gettysburg began and resulted in the largest casualties of the American Civil War.

The Battle of Gettysburg resulted in eight-thousand men killed in combat; these bodies, baking in the heat of summer, needed to be buried quickly. Over three-thousand horse carcasses were burned in a series of piles south of town; townsfolk became violently ill from the stench. Meanwhile, the town of Gettysburg, with its population of just two-thousand, found itself tasked with taking care of fourteen-thousand wounded Union troops and an additional eight-thousand Confederate prisoners.

According to lore, the Union soldier to fire the first shot of the battle of Gettysburg was Lt. Marcellus Jones.

Civil War era soldiers – photographer unknown circa 1865
L. Prang & Co. lithograph of the painting "Hancock at Gettysburg" by Thure de Thulstrup, showing Pickett's Charge. Restoration by Adam Cuerden.
L. Prang & Co. lithograph of the painting “Hancock at Gettysburg” by Thure de Thulstrup, showing Pickett’s Charge. Restoration by Adam Cuerden.
bible, maundy-thursday, poems, poetry, sonnet

A Morning Crow

This day we’re meant to sing love’s newest note —
to note Christ’s washing filthy toe and heel.

“Lord, I’m a lamb, don’t treat me like a goat.”
“If I don’t wash you — you will never heal.”
“Then wash my feet, my hands, my head, my all.”

“O children, I’ve but time to bathe your feet,
after this night, after silver and gall,
I’ll tell you all — now I’ve time for your feet.”

After each toe was washed by Heaven’s head,
our Lord returned to the table and sat
to speak of hardened heart and dripping bread,
to speak of Simon’s son — the Devil’s rat;
that solid Son-of-Jonah’s triple no,
betrayal, bleating sheep — a morning crow.

© rl busséll 2021 – All rights reserved.

Ford Maddox Brown, “Jesus Washing the Disciples’ Feet”
(Oil on Canvas, 45.9″ × 52.4″, 1852–6)

poems, poetry

Widow’s Walk

I have seen a widow’s walk
where seven gables point the sky,
and I have stared at chalk
hoping to draw the perfect I.

But why?
Why set my feet where Hawthorne trod?
Why practice to marry eye to hand?
Why collect all those marks
set to paper, board or ageless cloth?
Why wonder at the ephemeral moth?

© rl busséll 2021 – All rights reserved.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

haiku, haiku-year, poems, poetry, sonnet

“Cupid laid by”

Love’s a pool so strong
that it cures men’s maladies.
My cure’s in her eyes. 1

© rl busséll 2019 – All rights reserved

  1. Cupid laid by his brand, and fell asleep:— Sonnet CLIII – William Shakespeare
Sonnet CLIII

Cupid laid by his brand, and fell asleep:
A maid of Dian's this advantage found,
And his love-kindling fire did quickly steep
In a cold valley-fountain of that ground;
Which borrow'd from this holy fire of Love
A dateless lively heat, still to endure,
And grew a seething bath, which yet men prove
Against strange maladies a sovereign cure.
But at my mistress' eye Love's brand new-fired,
The boy for trial needs would touch my breast;
I, sick withal, the help of bath desired,
And thither hied, a sad distemper'd guest,
But found no cure: the bath for my help lies
Where Cupid got new fire--my mistress' eyes.
haiku, haiku-year, poems, poetry, sonnet

”Those lips”

Love formed lips did hate
but straight ‘twas taught to greet the
dawn with Love’s own song.

© rl busséll 2019 – All rights reserved

Sonnet CXLV

Those lips that Love's own hand did make
Breathed forth the sound that said 'I hate'
To me that languish'd for her sake;
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come,
Chiding that tongue that ever sweet
Was used in giving gentle doom,
And taught it thus anew to greet:
'I hate' she alter'd with an end,
That follow'd it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
From heaven to hell is flown away;
'I hate' from hate away she threw,
And saved my life, saying 'not you.'
Those lips that Love's own hand did make — Sonnet CXLV - William Shakespeare