Carolina Chansons eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 83 pages of information about Carolina Chansons.

    A pile of lightwood on the river bank,
    Neighbors on horseback, and the slaves,
    With teeth as white as eyeballs, rank on rank,
    Watched on the pyre the form wrapped in a shroud,
    Lonely among the lolling tongues of flames—­
    The smoke streamed, trailing in a saffron cloud,
    The greedy noise of fire grew loud,
    Then, “whiff,” the shroud burned with a flare: 
    The dead man’s eyes looked down
    Like china moons upon the crowd. 
    They saw him slowly shake his head,
    The thing denied that it was dead,
    While from the blacks arose a babblement of prayer. 
    Surely the head must stop—­
    Not till the fire caved! 
    Then from the very top
    The loosened poll came with a leap,
    Bounding three times, it took the river-steep;
    Down, down the river bank—­all they
    Ran after it like school boys for a ball. 
    God!  How the thing could roll! 
    It seemed the devil kicked the leaping poll. 
    At last it stopped at bay,
    Staring across a tidal flat,
    Where spider lilies frightened day.

    They buried it within a lonesome wood,
    With trembling hands, beneath a foreign stone. 
    But there were some who said
    It moved its lips;
    And when they went away, the earth stirred
    And they heard it moan. 
    Now it comes leaping down the tunnel roads
    Where the moss hangs like stalactites,
    Screaming out curses, snapping at the toads;
    Negroes who pass there on the moonless nights
    Behind them hear a sound that stops their breath. 
    The keen wind whistles through its teeth,
    And the white skull goes bounding by
    Looking for Death.




    Three years! 
    Since I had seen the city, in the time
    We waited through the tenseness of the hours,
    While nerves were zither strings
    For fate to jar upon: 
    All through that night we counted old St. Michael’s chimes
    Now three o’clock—­
    The bells spoke as they had on marriage days,
    With high and silver-happy tongues
    Yet somehow they had gained an irony,
    For out across the quiet April bay
    Grim, new-built forts grinned at old Sumter
    Through the morning mist—­
    And no sound yet!  Then—­
    Thirty minutes like a life too long;
    A red flash dirked the night;
    I thought a voice cried, “DOOM”;
    That was the gun that killed a million men.

Project Gutenberg
Carolina Chansons from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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