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American Vesper

From New York up to White Plains down to here -
The Hessian grapeshot rounds still numb my ears -
Winter’s coming on, and my tour is nearly done -
But for country I’ll remain with Washington.

I will not move, I will not sway -
I would rather fall & stand my ground, where upon I lay.

The treaty made the sun set on my land -
At bayonet they rounded up my clan -
And they marched the Cherokee, along the Nunna Da-ul Tsun-yi -
My daughter got as far as Tennessee.

I will not move, I will not sway -
I would rather fall & stand my ground, where upon I lay.

A full moon rose on Cemetery Hill -
Dying cries of men could be heard still -
My brothers gave their worth, on that ridge near Gettysburg -
That the Nation shall not perish from the earth.

I will not move, I will not sway -
I would rather fall & stand my ground, where upon I lay.
The tide will leave, but again will rise -
And my boots will walk that road to where it meets the skies.

June the 6th nineteen forty-four:
We were trying to steer the Higgins toward the shore -
The bullets, the teeth, the flak… could not point us back -
On those sands began the ending of the war.

I will not move, I will not sway -
I would rather fall & stand my ground, where upon I lay.
The tide will leave, but again will rise -
And my boots will walk that road to where it meets the skies.

Our Greyhound bus burned outside Anniston -
They beat our bodies as we tried to run -
There was shouting & there were flames, baseball bats & chains -
But they could not stop our Freedom Ride campaign.

I will not move, I will not sway -
I would rather fall & stand my ground, where upon I lay.
The sun will set, but again will rise -
And my boots will walk that road to where it meets the skies.

© Charles Danek

 

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