IN THE WILDERNESS


 For the 104th NY Volunteers, Saunderís Field,
529 engaged; 23 killed; 118 wounded; 114 missing.



I stood on your battlefields.
I heard the screams.
I smelled the smoke.
I felt the terror.
I looked out on

           the same blue sky as they did,
and the earthworks thrown
               up by a passing century
    were overrun as quickly as
                    the trenches down the road.
Deep in Virginia,

             on a peaceful
    farmerís field, where not even
a cow grazed, in this absolute
          middle of nowhere,
far from our manic streets and the
      noise that means
                  home, I found

           a memorial to my fellow
New Yorkers, a momentís
            heroism scribed in
        stone, in this place
                        where something
     once happened, and
                whispering, ďThank you,Ē
                      was routed by
   cannonades
                  of silence.


The Wilderness Battlefield, Va.
October 2000


All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
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