For a company from the town came up ten miles with music and gun—It seemed his
country claimed him then—as well as his mother her son.
But Joseph is yonder with Grant to-day, a thousand miles or near, And only the
bees are abroad at work with me in the clover here.
it a murmur of thunder I heard that humm'd again in the air?
Yet, may be, the
cannon are sounding now their "Onward to Richmond" there.
But under the beech by the orchard, at noon, I sat an hour it would seem—It may
be I slept a minute, too, or wavered into a dream.
For I saw my boys, across the field, by the flashes as they went,
Tramping a steady tramp as of old with the strength in their arms unspent :
Tramping a steady tramp they moved like soldiers that march to the beat Of music
that seems, a part of themselves, to rise and fall with their feet;
Tramping a steady tramp, they came with flashes of silver that shone, Every
step, from their scythes that rang as if they needed the stone
(The field is wide and heavy with grass)—and, coming toward me they beamed With
a shine of light in their faces at once, and—surely I must have dreamed!
For I sat alone in the clover-field, the bees were working ahead;
There were three in my vision—remember, old man : and—what if Joseph were dead!
But I hope that he and Grant (the flag above them both, to boot) Will go into
Richmond together, no matter which is ahead or afoot!
Meantime alone at the mowing here—an old man somewhat gray—I must stay at home
as long as I can, making myself the hay.
And so another round—the quail in the orchard whistles blithe—But first I'll
drink at the spring below, and whet again my scythe.