During the battle of Gettysburg
at the railroad cut
Rufus Dawes and the Sixth Wisconsin
stopped at the lip
and called down
for the Confederates to surrender
instead of firing
at these grey ducks
caught in an earthen barrel.
I said this because
I wanted you to know
that men are capable of such
clear thinking and restraint
during the maelstrom of battle
and we should set our expectations higher
for human behavior.
I believe you think
modern man incapable
of such courage through inaction
especially with studies
that count the educated
as moving farthest from the bible.
But I think it is peer pressure—
not religion—that motivates
people to Keep up with the Jones
especially in matters of power—
its acquisition and application
contrary to the ideal
of equal treatment under the law.
copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney