“Women’s Lament”: a Song of the Civil War for Today

I wrote this song many years ago, while working at Ft. Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Studying about the war, I was so struck by its human toll, and the suffering that no household could escape: 600,000 American casualties in four bloody years.

Today we mark the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, who steered us through that crisis. While we are no longer fighting brother against brother over slavery and states rights, the reality and misery of war are still with us. William Faulkner, that lyrical scribe of American history, was right: ” The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

click here to listen to “Women’s Lament”   http://youtu.be/KE8zZN7WoII

Here are the lyrics:

Women’s Lament
by Maria Garriott

I have seen the face of death in the lines of blue and gray
Marching through these endless fields for some vague and distant aim.
And as the world around us falls, and through our land these furies rage
The men we’ve loved are leaving now, and nothing is the same

And at night the women gather in the churches
And I can hear them weeping as they pray

Lord, don’t take the man I love; bring my husband home to me
I care no more for slaves or states or the taste of victory
I care not if we win or lose—I only want my lover back
And if this war’s not ended soon, I fear I’ll wear a widow’s black.

Chorus

Lord, don’t take my only son; he’s still too young to leave
But he hears the soldiers marching now and he dreams a soldier’s dream
But he’s never known hunger, never really been in pain
And if he goes a’fighting now, I fear he’ll not come home again

And at night the soldiers gather into circles
And though they never speak of leaving
In their hearts they are grieving and they say

I have seen the face of death in the lines of blue and gray
Marching through these endless fields for some vague and distant aim.
And as the world around us falls, and through our land these furies rage
The men we’ve loved are leaving now, and nothing is the same
The friends we’ve loved are dying now, and nothing is the same

© Maria Garriott/CitySongs

 

 

2 Responses to “Women’s Lament”: a Song of the Civil War for Today

  1. Found this by accident today and it was wonderful to hear this beautiful voice again. Looking forward to reading A Thousand Ressurections.

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