GUEST BLOG – Jimmye Hillman’s poem, penned late one night during our American Civil War trip

You sorta hadta be there to get all the references, but y’all can see what a fine poet Jimmye Hillman is (no matter what his daughter says).

I TAKE RICHMOND*

Not as a British frigate’s cargo: freedom’s heirs
Stuck at James River’s falls in royal pause,
Not as some conquering Yankee brigade unawares
Of Virginia gentility, and its righteous Cause—

No! I come bold to chase the ghosts of Mary Chestnut’s men,
Their world, their lives their dreams all issue from her pen ;
Oh! Zephyrus March breeze blow me to their stones
And relics of history, or better still: their bones.

Yon statues forge for me the fathers of one nation.—
Wash-Ad-Jeff-Mad-Mon-Ad-Jack**, and Lee’s creation;
John Marshall House, George Mason, and Stonewall,
Confederate imageries do my Southern soul enthrall.

Come panoptic vision, spread before me Charles City,
Belle Isle, battlefields, cannon, blood, but no pity.
Hark! The wound-dresser’s bending, artilleryman’s seeing,
And Walt Whitman’s poetry has captured my psych-being!

Jimmye Hillman's 90th birthday in Richmond

Jimmye Hillman’s 90th birthday in Richmond

Jimmye Hillman
Richmond VA
4 March, 2013

*Dedicated to the scholars of Classical Pursuits

**The memorization device Jimmye was taught to remember the first seven US Presidents.

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