The Antietam Statue

STEADFAST and sad he stands, his level eyes
Asking stern question of eternal Fate.
That silent host of dead before him lies,
Whose wondrous, woeful loss no years abate;
Whose legend all the rolling plains relate,
The wind that wails, the unrelenting skies.
“ What have these done?” the answering echo cries;
“ Their life, their love, their youth’s sweet promise gone;
Gone in a day their gilded destinies.
What evil errand have their swift lives done
To be so clipt, like insects in the sun;
And this gaunt stone to mock their memories?”
Stone art thou! God in each true soul replies,
“ These men who died for man outlive all earth and skies.”
Rose Terry Cooke.