Row upon row of neat grey-granite headstones stand,
some blackened by time, but then black-men also stood in that
Here, once proud rebel warriors stood before the green
and amber wood,
and took their chance, nervous and neat in their
There, in that grassy wind stroked Southern field,
before the dark-wood, still boldly upright, even after many a
year, they stand.
Fixed bayonets and determined glance,
‘cross the mighty Rappahannock’s ways; still straight as a
still in their final spot, still silent in their stolen
yesterdays, still ordered, in their loyal rebel ranks.
where once young men fell to savage circumstance,
a cold winter chill of death now stirs ‘round grey-stones,
as indeed it still does within the dark and frozen ground.
Dancing, yellowed leaves of oak are caught,
to pile, as they did, about these fraught and
No more are seen those handsome folk,
or their young and buried faces.
brush aside the clinging snow
and a stubborn headstone reveals its silent name.
Merely a whisper now, as if not to waken those below.
Those who lay deep beneath the snow, who still weep in their
still laid low, still below the slab, by one, tragic, moment
done in history.
A howling lead minnie ball or bayonet’s cold steel stab,
brought death to steal away their very rebel breath,
to join the wind, sigh and howl, whistle Dixie
‘cross distant Blue Ridge Mountains somehow, to other ordered
even talk their wind-held words, with fellow buried Yanks.
Or, far, far away, a distant soldier hears their songs.
He marched ‘cross this very field, stepped over a fallen friend,
left behind he was, to fight until this unjust war was…done,
then wend a long pilgrim’s way, longing for warmer, quieter,
away from this drab and frigid bloody scene, and all its tragic
Older now, he carries with him those young and buried faces,
merely memories; for those who remain, must endure eternal pain.
He sought new hopes ‘cross-seas in foreign lands,
escape to other places, far away from where he fought,
where now at last, his lone stone, stands.
No ordered ranks to keep him company;
one of the few; yet the same wind’s now warm plow,
stirs gum leaves ‘round a grey-granite stone,
even gathers ‘round a rocky barren ground within, somehow.
Wipe the sweat from your eyes and brow
and a name whispers from the stone,
as soft as lapping gentle-waters, as those distant names do.
Standing proudly still today, is the work of one Jim Gray,
for a Union Man in this far-flung land.
The American Veterans’ Association sent the stone,
so a fallen sailor wouldn’t lay bereft, left, alone
and wouldn’t be forgotten in this strange and distant place
and neither would his handsome, young and buried face,
nor will the sorrows for those few, whose
stolen yesterdays, should have been tomorrows.
Like a milestone it marks the end of one life’s journey,
stands boldly upright, there alone.
Shafts of Pacific sun pierce the dark-green wood
to sparkle on this new granite stone.
There, where no soldier or sailor ever longed to stand-alone.
In that very final spot today, a solitary slab of stone,
Is one of many, along Toowong’s stony ways.