Chattanooga National Military Cemetery
Atop the knoll where cannons keep
a watch for those here lain,
I cast my eyes ‘cross this expanse
of hills where once stood grain.
In aging testimony,
this hallowed ground is turned bone white,
an endless sea of crosses roll
through oaks and summer’s light.
A gentle whisper calls a tune
in timeless, ageless memories,
thus stirs the oak and ash to grant
a moment’s cooling breeze.
The summer’s heat peaks weariness
across my furrowed brow,
yet begs I cross the distance
to feel the hearts around me, now.
To count the rows and call the names
through every battle fought,
to share the living knowledge gained
these wounded hearts have wrought.
Bone white and worn, fading names,
others only numbered souls
lost to season’s secret,
held here ‘tween the oaks and knolls.
‘Tis sad, this lengthened journey,
when reach the distant rows,
many hearts and souls here,
many that I feel I’d know
if only for this fleeting glance
between these steps of mine,
graced to sense their wounded hearts,
touched but for a moment’s time.
Contoured to this hallowed ground
across this rolling distance,
blessed in blood through those who gave,
these crosses bear true witness
that gratitude and honor
are distilled from hearts that fell in fight.
To them this simple blessing,
“God bless these souls beneath bone white”.