Dec 18, 2011

All quiet along the Potomac

(NYTimes) ... Beers’s poem is more notable for generalization than specificity. She did not clarify whether her title character was a Northerner or Southerner. She did not give him a name. He was simply a sentry on night duty while his comrades slept peacefully. As he trudged along his segment of the line, he thought about his young children and his wife. He reflected that the moon looked much as it did when he became engaged. Wiping tears from his eyes, he pulled his gun closer to his body, “as if to keep down the heart-swelling,” and continued his dreary tread. Continued

Photo: On picket in the woods, Edwin Forbes (Library of Congress).