Elegy for the Native Guards
We leave Gulfport at noon; gulls overhead
trailing the boat—streamers, noisy fanfare—
all the way to Ship Island. What we see
first is the fort, its roof of grass, a lee—
half reminder of the men who served there—
a weathered monument to some of the dead.
Inside we follow the ranger, hurried
though we are to get to the beach. He tells
of graves lost in the Gulf, the island split
in half when Hurricane Camille hit,
shows us casemates, cannons, the store that sells
souvenirs, tokens of history long buried.
The Daughters of the Confederacy
has placed a plaque here, at the fort's entrance—
each Confederate soldier's name raised hard
in bronze; no names carved for the Native Guards—
2nd Regiment, Union men, black phalanx.
What is monument to their legacy?
All the grave markers, all the crude headstones—
water-lost. Now fish dart among their bones,
and we listen for what the waves intone.
Only the fort remains, near forty feet high,
round, unfinished, half open to the sky,
the elements—wind, rain—God's deliberate eye.
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Elegy for the Native Guards by Natasha Trethewey )
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Still I Rise
Edgar Allan Poe
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
William Ernest Henley
- Inner Composition, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Firefly, John Shea
- Tranquil Anticipation, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- साना हाबबाय, Ronjoy Brahma
- Men And Women, Matthias Pantaleon
- Haiku: Haiku Cuts Haiku... (This is not .., Brian Johnston
- Kindness Of A Stranger, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- To my sister on the death of our father, Roger A. Rose
- If a Hippo Said Boo, Stephen Katona
- Real, The Princess