In Their Own Wrds: A poetry column by Kathleen Fredal

My dear fellow Reenactors,

Our mutual love of reading history and reenacting Civil War events has compelled me to share some of my poetry with all of you: my distinguished colleagues who truly understand the nature and significance of historic events. (And, John kept bugging me to submit them.) These events and people have affected society in a myriad of ways, and sometimes, revisiting them in a poetic genre can offer a unique perspective on a much-loved topic.

I have attempted to be meticulous in researching all my topics, and my goal is to distill the essence of the man/woman or the event into each poem. The initial inspiration for each poem is found in a direct quote that best illustrates the theme of each work. (Hence, the title of my column—In Their Own Words ) I have tried to convey the subtle or the larger-than-life images that so inspire us as Civil War Reenactors and history lovers.

Thus far, my efforts (and personal interest) seem to have led me to explore the Eastern Theatre. Therefore, the submissions you will read in the subsequent Monitor will be observations of said front. On this point, John has been a great advocate of the Western Theatre and has expressed a desire for me to read The Orphan Brigade so that I can try to create a poem worthy of our brave men. I assure you, Valued Readers, I have embarked on that quest, but helping with homework and doing laundry sometimes takes its toll on a writer’s best intentions. I have found that meticulous research can not be done quickly. And, reading the facts first, so that I can choose the appropriate poetic phrases, though immensely enjoyable, is quite time-consuming.

My ultimate hope is to spark discussion between military and civilian factions and to encourage further exploration into our chosen hobby. I hope, also, that any interesting book titles or potential poetic topics might be forwarded to me so that I may pursue them. At the end of each poem, you will find the quote that inspired the piece, and, hopefully, you might even find a special spark of interest you wish to personally pursue.

My sincere wish is that each column finds you happy and healthy. And I humbly hope my words help to illuminate, even if only in some small way, the scope of this epic time in America’s history.

Enjoy and be well.

Kathleen Fredal

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

A poetry column by Kathleen Fredal

ABOVE ALL

By Kathleen Fredal

Above all
The great one sits
Astride his faithful
Traveller.

Above all
The honorable General
Answers his
Call of Duty.

Above all
The horrific scenes
Graphically burnt
Into the minds of men:

Fredericksburg’s bloodbath parade
Chancellorsville’s insurmountable loss
Gettysburg’s turning of the tide
Petersburg’s impossible last stand

Above all
His call of duty to
God and
Virginia.

“Above all things, learn at once to worship your Creator and to do His will as revealed in His Holy Book.” General Robert E. Lee