Please Don't Tell Aunt Martha

Please Don't Tell Aunt Martha

A Poem by Samuel Dickens
"

A Civil War poem

"

I did my best, oh mother dear, the cruel war to survive

knowin’ that you’d need your son, since papa up’t and died

I thought we’d run them Yankees back, right north into Missouri

it’d only take a week or two; no need was there for worry

Two thousand strong, we left Fort Smith, marching toward Cane Hill

and that is where we found Blunt’s men and blood began to spill

It wasn’t like I thought it’d be, I’m very sad to say

cause somethin' happens to your soul when murder has its way

Killin’ ain’t a natural thing that good folks ought to do

and that is why my finger froze when I seen cousin Hugh

I know he never saw my face, but just a suit of grey

so please don't tell Aunt Martha who put me in my grave

© 2015 Samuel Dickens


Author's Note

Samuel Dickens
Inspired by the Battle of Cain Hill, fought on November 28, 1862 near Fayetteville, Arkansas. I can't confirm that he was present at the battle, but my great-grandfather, Richard Dickens, was assigned to one of the units.

My Review

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Featured Review

Civil War-an oxymoron...Family against family, tainting the earth with spillage of innocent blood...your dramatic and well-written poem so poignantly drives this home in the gentle, innocent words of a young boy and his tragic death by the hand of a cousin. Your great-grandfather (amazing picture) must have seen so much devastation. Excellent use of historical facts, colloquial language of the period, beautiful form, flow, cadence, imagery and rhyme. Took my breath away Sam. Kudos for this important and touching memorial.

Posted 6 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

6 Years Ago

Thank you, Annette. I wish we could learn from our mistakes.



Reviews

Will a day ever dawn when our beautiful world will be '' war free''? You have captured exquisitely what a soldier believes when he goes to war, thinking it will be over very quickly and this letter home to his loving Mother tells a very different story. The mental anguish of killing a human being must be a thought which takes over one's whole mind. I guess "survival mode" takes over? Wars pit brother against brother, family against family! I can never understand it or fathom it out, Sam. So extremely sad that this soldier who really didn't want to be a soldier, was killed by his own cousin because the soldier recognised his cousin and could not do to him what his cousin did to him. A v-e-r-y poignant, finely pinned poem with universal appeal, Sam. THANK YOU! for sharing...

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Marie

2 Weeks Ago

Ps/ "My Wild Irish Rose" should be "Wild Irish Rose". (It's a whiskey in the U.S.A. Sam...)
Samuel Dickens

2 Weeks Ago

Just came from youtube, where I watched/listened to both songs. Each in their own way do an outstand.. read more
Marie

2 Weeks Ago

So pleased you enjoyed both anti-war songs, Sam. War is soul destroying! I am so very saddened to re.. read more
Just... wow. It gave me goosebumps.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

2 Years Ago

Thanks. I'm glad you like it.
That is quite the saddest tale of blood relatives on opposite sides of the fence. And to that add the name of that infamous hill - Cain. A splendid and personal poem with an unbounded universality. Thanks for having shared this gem. /Frederick.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

2 Years Ago

Thank you, Frederick. I'd never made the "Cain" connection to the battle, but now it's even more mea.. read more
I never saw this one, Sam. And I never knew you wrote poems. This is excellent to read and captures the character of the soldier and the circumstances so well. How horrifying would it be to realize you shot one of your own on the battlefield.

I remember reading that at one point in the war, the soldiers took a break from the fighting and actually joined with each other on a hill as companions. When the break was over, they when back to killing each other. So strange.

I'm so glad I caught this one. Love it. :)

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

2 Years Ago

Thank you. I read that during one of the skirmishes not from here, several soldiers switched sides. .. read more
Oh what a sad twist at the end. You're making me cry again. You always find a way to touch my heart, with laughter or tears. You truly move me.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

2 Years Ago

Thank you. No matter how many die, we never wise up.
Well it certainly has that ring of truth to it that only adds to your point Samuel, that war, no matter what flag it is fought under, isn't the photogenic adventure that movies make it look, or as prosaic as history books make it sound.
The first time most would have held a gun was on the battlefield and the stark truth is that war is indeed a slow and lingering hell.


Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

2 Years Ago

Thank you. You are absolutely right.
For a Brit this was American history on the first reading; a dramatic and finely written poem on the second reading, Then - then the truth wracked with wretched emotions hit and hit hard, Sam, Have read your stories over the years, had to come here, to find an early post not read. In the past, 'read heart, history and more in your posts, But this extraordinarily vivid and yet quite few words, shows the evil and fury of civil war, the spilling of one's own blood-bank. Your final line.. is.. tragic.

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

3 Years Ago

Thank, dear Emma. That war was tragic and senseless, and all these years later, it's still not over .. read more
emmajoy

3 Years Ago

More than likely, with your sensitivity and experience, you've taken notice; you know and understan.. read more
A stark reminder of the mindless horrors of war even more magnified by relative against relative
Now, another weapons pact is failing and all these brainless a******s want to create even more killing potential
the stupidity of mankind

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

5 Years Ago

Indeed, you are right. Clearly, mankind is a deeply flawed species.
Really? Little Dickie Dickens? Precious.
Sad poem, though. Thank you for sharing it, Sam.
I like Civil War stories; I've read the NORTH AND SOUTH trilogy several times.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

5 Years Ago

Thanks. Until my generation, Richard was a common family name. The last was one of Dad's brothers.
Civil War-an oxymoron...Family against family, tainting the earth with spillage of innocent blood...your dramatic and well-written poem so poignantly drives this home in the gentle, innocent words of a young boy and his tragic death by the hand of a cousin. Your great-grandfather (amazing picture) must have seen so much devastation. Excellent use of historical facts, colloquial language of the period, beautiful form, flow, cadence, imagery and rhyme. Took my breath away Sam. Kudos for this important and touching memorial.

Posted 6 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

6 Years Ago

Thank you, Annette. I wish we could learn from our mistakes.

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Added on July 2, 2010
Last Updated on May 30, 2015

Author

Samuel Dickens
Samuel Dickens

Alma, AR



About
Greetings, all. I'm a seventy-six year-old father of three sons who enjoys writing, art, music, motorcycles, cooking, and a few other things. From 1967 to 1988, I served in the US Navy, where I travel.. more..

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