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A Year of Poetry – Day 220

Heavily falls the rain;
Wild are the breezes tonight;
But ‘neath the roof, the hours as they fly,
Are happy and calm and bright.
Gathering round our fireside,
Tho’ it be summer time,
We sit and talk of brothers abroad
Forgetting the midnight chime

Brave boys are they!
Gone at their country’s call;
And yet, and yet we cannot forget
That many brave boys must fall.

Under the homestead roof
Nestled so cozy and warm,
While soldiers sleep, with little or naught
To shelter them from the storm.
Resting on grassy couches,
Pillow’d on hillocks damp;
Of martial fare, how little we know,
Till brothers are in the camp.

Thinking no less of them,
Loving our country the more,
We sent them forth to fight for the flag
Their fathers before them bore.
Though the great tear drops started,
This was our parting trust:
God bless you, boys! we’ll welcome you home
When rebels are in the dust.

May the bright wings of love
Guard them wherever they roam;
The time has come when brothers must fight,
And sisters must pray at home.
Oh! The dread field of battle!
Soon to be strewn with graves!
If brothers fall, then bury them where
Our banner in triumph waves.

— Henry Clay Work, Brave Boys Are They

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