We May Return

© 1991 by Kevin B. Shearer

While strolling through my woods one night, I saw the moon was strangely bright.
        And through the gathering mist like arrows, moonbeams stabbed through leaf and bough.
Sedate and blissful grew my heart, realizing not the path did part
        To draw me through the slanting rows of moonbeams growing misty now.
Long I wandered quite unknowing as the mist was steadily growing,
        Where I'd gone, indeed was going, until I came upon a glade.
Confused, I stood there for awhile; no glade so near my domicile
        Could e'r be there without my knowing, yet there it was and there I stayed.
                I yearned to leave, but there I stayed.

From that New England mystery, I could not bring my legs to flee,
        Though chills like snakes with clammy skin were winding stead'ly up my spine.
For there it seemed that I'd been led unknowingly with growing dread
        To face some questions deep within of loathsome burdens that were mine.
My shaking legs resumed their walk, the mystery at once to stalk.
        Through whisp'ring grass that brushed my legs until at center glade I stood.
There in the middle, craven standing, more courage from my soul demanding,
        Prepared to drink these bitter dregs, that from them might come greater good;
                I stood my ground for greater good.

At once I came to realize that slowly there began to rise,
        From hidden graves within the clearing, spectral forms of men long dead.
And from that field which time forgot where heroes died and lay to rot,
        Dead soldiers carried on appearing, charging guns with balls of lead.
At having lost all hope of leaving; specters all about me weaving,
        It seemed as though the ground was reeling, I readied then to meet my end.
I knew that soon their steely eyes would catch me 'neath the moonlit skies,
        And soon thereafter I'd be feeling musket balls that they would send.
                I'd feel the fire that they would send.

One specter stopped to peer at me, incredulous he seemed to be,
        And scrutinized me close as though I looked as strangely as I felt.
He then approached to prod my chest with musket barrel to my breast,
        All movement 'round me seemed to slow, and weakness forcing me, I knelt.
I thought to beg some mercy of the icy eyes that glared above,
        Then I caught sight of thirteen stars, encircled on a field of blue.
I knew these Sons of Liberty who once defeated tyranny.
        "God bless the white and crimson bars," I called, "and bless her soldiers true!"
                "God bless the flag and heroes true."

A thousand eyes though surely dead then gathered 'round me, blazing red,
        While speech, as if from 'neath the earth, from all as one began to rise.
In unison they spoke to me asking where and when might be
        This place and time of dead rebirth, while staring at my modern guise.
I said to them, "The war is won. The British have been overcome.
        The colonists have victory. Our land extends from sea to sea.
Now, please go back to rest in peace, and let my heart its pounding cease."
        They stayed and said, despite my plea, "We spent our blood for liberty,"
                "We gave our lives for liberty."

"'Twas here we fell, for liberty, not land to reach from sea to sea,
        Nor pole to pole hegemony, but that each man might choose his way.
Now here again as one we stand. Thy answers quickly we demand!
        What didst thou with thy legacy, which summons us for war this day?"
At once I started quivering, my tongue was dry and gibbering.
        I could not tell those men who paid with blood for what we'd later sell.
Then all at once the still air broke with flash of fire as musket spoke,
        Its echoes there within the glade, persuading me the truth to tell.
                I then resolved the truth to tell.

"Good men, the freedom that you bought; we sold! We sold it, and for naught."
        I clambered trembling to my feet to look those shadows in the eyes.
When all at once I wished I'd lied; for there it seemed again they died,
        At hearing freedom met defeat, was sold for naught, was sold for lies.
"Your lovely Lady Liberty, we traded for security.
        With complex laws and twisted words, our princes hold incumbency.
Of every dollar, fifty cents goes to the nanny governments,
        Which have such debts so far incurred that we approach insolvency.
                We fast approach insolvency."

"Aloud we do not dare to pray; the courts will carry us away.
        And yet, they force us all to give for blasphemy that they call art.
They tax our pay, the young to kill. In foreign wars, our blood they spill.
        Our freedom lessens as we live, while Congress plays the tyrant's part."
"Enough!" the specters cried, "Desist! We'll shoot thee if thou doest persist.
        Thou canst not be the heirs we sought to rescue from a foreign threat.
By British cannon we did fall, but greed and sloth did take you all.
        The liberty for which we fought is gone, though all is not lost yet.
                With courage all is not lost yet."

More weary than they seemed before, the heroes to their graves once more,
        Began to sink with sigh and moan, and backward glance that seemed to say,
How could you give it all away? And then I heard to my dismay,
        A voice which chilled me to the bone, "We may return," I heard it say.
Alone I stood in boundless shame. I felt that I had none to blame
        For my forsaking liberty, and then the voice returned to me.
"If thou awakest from thy sleep, and vow to ne'er abide as sheep,
        Return we will to march with thee, and fight again for liberty.
                We'll fight again for liberty.''

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -- Samuel Adams 1776.

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