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A REFUGE FOR POETS WHO WRITE IN THE LYRIC TRADITION,
WITH RHYME AND METER, WITH OR WITHOUT MUSIC
Someone remembers you, Daniel C. Salls.
I know that you answered when your country called,
And you reenlisted to free all the slaves.
I hope, in the end, you found peace in the grave.
I came here before, but the snow was too deep,
And I could not find where they laid you to sleep.
Your gravestone is broken and flat on the ground.
How long has it been since your kinfolk came Ďround?
Some family history I knew from before.
My great-great-grandfather had fought in the war.
We once had his sword that he carried with pride;
But none of us knew that his brother had died.
In northern Virginia you stood your last ground,
Where cannons on hilltops made thundering sounds,
And near the Potomac you died on the train.
I want you to know you did not die in vain.
You left a young bride who was just seventeen.
She bore you a child you may never have seen.
You left your dear mother to bury her son,
And me to salute you for what you have done.
While I walk this earth, you will not be alone.
Iíll visit your grave and set upright your stone.
We both are musicians, I now understand.
When I get to heaven, Iíll play in the band.
Stockholm, New York, 2001
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