Autumn Stroll

Paul and I walked
Antietam’s sunken road
away from
the observation tower
with me as guide
telling him about John Gordon’s
Alabama troops’ courage
and how the soil
turned a reddish brown.

A bus pulled into
the parking area
and released
fifty Chinese students
to read signs
and view the plowed fields
and split-rail fences.

Paul wondered aloud
what this place
meant to them
and how the fight
to free the slaves
and preserve the Union
reflected in China’s history.

We turned down
the road to the Roulette Farm
and a few students followed
mistaking my
recently re-read
The Gleam of Bayonets history
for the lecture
of an official battlefield guide.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Antietam was a battle in the American Civil war. Link to the National Park Service webpage about the battle.

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