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February 24, 2012

Poetry Friday--More Poehistry

As you may have guessed, if you follow this or my Kids of the Homefront Army blog, I'm a big advocate of using old photographs as inspiration for poems about history. I refer to the resulting poems as "poehistry." If you'd like to see examples from this blog, click on the label (on the right hand side of the page) "poehistry."

Here's a list poem inspired by the Civil War tintype above:
Reasons to Volunteer for the Band

Foot soldiers love music.
       It incites them to heroic deeds.

Politicians love music
       With which to bury the heroic dead.

The Ladies love music.
       Savage breast and all that.

Splendid uniforms.
       The Ladies love splendid uniforms.

The carrying of a saxhorn or drum
       Is easier than carrying a dying brother.

There is only so much a man
       Can do when all men are brothers.

Musicians are respected,
       Whether or not is it warranted.

When you are in hell
       Respect is meaningless.

Why not blow a horn?

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

For this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up, visit Jone at the school library and Check It Out!

Photo [Ten unidentified soldiers that form a Union regimental band with saxhorns and drums] courtesy Library of Congress.


  1. I love those old photos, really any old ones, and peer into the faces, wondering who they are, how old, where from, how lonely, etc.? They look old, but aren't. Your poem is refreshing in a way, to give bitter words against war, coming down to the truth of it, do what you can to stay alive. Thank you!

  2. Thanks, Linda. I tried hard to capture the duality of personality needed to be an active participant in war. Something keeps me from thinking it's finished, though. I'll leave it for a while and maybe the kinks will smooth out at a later date.

  3. What a photo. I can see why you would find it inspiring! I particularly liked the echo of "heroic deeds" in "heroic dead."