Contemplation in an Evil Time

Written in the Year 2021

Hampton, our stalwart Wade,
             As wily as Odysseus in war
As full of rage for truth in time of fraud
             As any celebrated Greek,
He saw his son fall at his feet,
             Kissed him a hard farewell
In manner Hector or Odysseus
             Would bring to tears,
Turned back to battlefield
             Which he controlled
As full of righteous anger
As Achilles ever knew.
             Remains the story of the power in his arm
             That wielded on his mount
             A burnished broadsword Roman style.

He fought until the end
             To time when Appomattox
             Was already distanced past
To build again
A burned and tragic home,
             A hero to his land
Who sent him to defend again
In nation’s torn and still divided halls
             Until unseated by a demagogue.
             His friends assured,
             “Your State will send you back
             Through legislative act,”
But he said “No. The seat to be bestowed
             Not sought and not begged for.”

The heavy Roman sword
             But takes a muscled arm to even lift,
That split a skull in twain to shoulder blade,
             Is still with us today
             If but display.
The marvel is its heaviness
Far heavier than the head that wears a crown
In time that bears a weakling, pandering brood
With no such giants in the land.

About James Everett Kibler

James Everett Kibler is a novelist, poet, and Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Georgia, where he teaches popular courses in Southern literature, examining such figures as William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Cormac McCarthy, Wendell Berry, and Larry Brown. Born and raised in upcountry South Carolina, Kibler spends much of his spare time tending to the renovation of an 1804 plantation home and the reforestation of the surrounding acreage. This home served as the subject of his first book, Our Fathers’ Fields: A Southern Story, for which he was awarded the prestigious Fellowship of Southern Writers Award for Nonfiction in 1999 and the Southern Heritage Society’s Award for Literary Achievement. More from James Everett Kibler

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