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Author’s note: I’m not certain when I will be able to continue participating in PMO. Illness and a family member's life final are presently taking top priority. I will leave you for now, with this Ballad. Robert G. Jerore email@example.com While serving in the US Air Force, I was sent to Korea to serve a one year stint during a "non-considered war". When I returned to the States I finished the remainder of my service time in North Carolina and Virginia. While there...It was during a visit with Sarah, a dear friend; who told me the following story. I promised her I would do my best to keep the story alive. I created the following ballad; The White Rose A love so strong, shall not be denied, even if it has to transcend the boundaries of eternity. Such an event occurred during this nation’s Civil War of 1861-1865. This story was repeated for the last time to 16 year old Sarah by her Great-Great Aunt. THE WHITE ROSE Summer breezes waft the porch, Caressing two women on a swing... A fragile, old woman, crocheting, And a young girl with freshness of spring. From a lattice enclosing the porch, Drifts fragrance of Morning Glories. Young Sarah sat, patiently waiting For another of Auntie’s stories. The elder’s hands worked a needle, And a continuous length of thread, Chaining one loop to another, Creating a beautiful spread. “Auntie don’t you tire of that? I would if it was me.” “Land-sakes, no child, It’s relaxing as can be.” Auntie paused, then looked to Sarah, “Something’s on your mind I’m sure, You’ve been patiently sitting here, I’m certain there’s something more.” “Well, since you asked me, You could tell me a story, I suppose. We could go for a walk in the garden Where, you can tell me about the White Rose.” Her Auntie mused, “Gracious child, How many times has it been?” Sarah giggled, “I can’t say I know, But, I’d like to hear it again.” Putting her crocheting aside, The old woman arose from the swing, Pausing briefly at the porch rail, To listen to a bluebird sing. “For several years she’s nested there, In that bird house in yonder tree; At times she’ll fly right to this rail, To sing her song for me. She’s got a brood I know— That keeps her busy all day long, But she never fails to take time out, To sing her cheerful song. It should be like that for us folk; That’s what life’s all about... To take time from our daily chores, And let music in our hearts sing out.” - - - - - They walked through a rambling garden, Amidst flowers of radiant hue, Smelling sweet-scented blossoms And picking a weed or two. Their path led to a reflecting pool, Where gold fish and some of white, Swam to the surface to greet them, Much to Sarah’s delight. Fetching crumbs from her apron, The old woman cast them to the fish. “Hold out your hands my dear, You may feed them if you wish.” Beyond the pool was an alcove, Covered with vines of the rose. There in the shaded sanctuary, They sought comfort and repose. Within the sweet-scented grotto, In coolness of the retreat, Two women...from a different time, Found tranquility from the summer heat. “These roses are so brilliant, Auntie Their beauty is dazzling to behold... Please tell the story of the White Rose, I never tire of it being told.” - - - - - “Well, the year was 1863; The North and South were at war, And Lincoln’s proclamation was part reason, What the Union was fighting for.” During this time of conflict, When cannons roared and shots rang out, A love of great strength showed itself, As the North fought...to put the South to rout. A mounted soldier, wearing Union blue, Fell wounded during battle; A southern maiden heard his cry, As he toppled from his saddle. With the aid of a loyal slave, She retrieved him to her house, Placing him on a goose-down bed, She cut away his blood-stained blouse. A lead ball pierced his shoulder; She cleansed it as best she could. With a poker-iron... she burned the flesh, To end the bleeding, if she could. She stayed by his side ‘tending him, Cooling his fever in it’s rage; It was difficult to hold back tears, For this man so near her age. The battle continued through afternoon, Then slowly drifted away. Quite came to the countryside... She prayed that it would stay. Finally—evening shrouded the house; In a candle-lighted room so dim, He awakened from his death-like trance, To see an angel there before him. “I’ve died and gone to glory,’ he murmured, ‘Death you’ve been kind to me. For only in heaven is it possible, To see an angel of such beauty.” “Hush now; it isn’t so. You’re alive, and so am I... You’re nowhere near God’s heaven, So it apparent you did not die.” - - - - - He healed during weeks that followed, And love blossomed between the two. This soldier from the North land, And southern belle with eyes so blue. Though their bond grew steadily stronger, His call to service was stronger still. “I must return again to my unit, To a duty I must fulfill.” She walked with him to a dusty road, That passed beyond the lane. He kissed her softly upon her lips; His heart was wracked with pain. From a pocket he took a penknife, And cut a flower so divine; A single, pure white rose, Growing wild on a fence rail vine. Placing it carefully in her palm, He drew her close in tight embrace, Kissing her tears one by one, As they streamed down her lovely face. “I shall return when this war is over When there’s no more tears or strife. When there is no more conflict or bloodshed, I shall ask you to be my wife.” The maiden watched him out of sight; The white rose clutched in her hand, Her shoulders shook unrestrained, Her tears fell to the roadway’s sand. - - - - - She placed the rose in water. It thrived and grew fine shoots, Then planted it in a secluded garden, When it finally showed strong roots. The war seemed to last forever... Yet he sent letters faithfully. And she wrote to him about her rose; “It’s a beautiful sight to see.” Said his letter of October in ‘64: “I miss you deeply in my heart, I’m so weary of this bloodshed, That keeps us torn apart. The purpose for which I’m fighting Seems so distant and unclear; Many men are dying, or going back home, To those they love so dear. I’ll be leaving with Sheridan’s army, For Cedar Creek, Virginia tomorrow. There... another battle will rage, Leaving behind more grief and sorrow. No matter what my fate will be, It’s you I think constantly of. Until we are finally together once more, I send a token of my undying love.” His letter was signed with a flourish, And it was as he had spoken; At the bottom of the last page, A drop of blood was left as a token. - - - - - Winter came...then warmer days... Rebirth of Spring was on the land. An envelope heavily stained with blood, Was delivered to her hand. It read: ‘My dearest, if you receive this letter, Good news it will not bring. I’ve carried it safely... over my heart, Which for you, has ever been aching. Every soldier who goes into battle, Dreads the fateful day, That if he’s felled by an enemy’s bullet... His special letter is sent on it’s way. "I ask this final request, my love; Bury this letter, near the rose, in the sand. In Summer, when the roses bloom, It’s then you will understand." She did his bidding, And when the blossoms opened wide, Each portrayed a token of his love... A bright red stain inside.” - - - - - Auntie’s story ended here. A tear welled in her eye. “Come my child, I’ll show you, The reason why I cry.” They proceeded further along the lane, ‘Til they reached a little known place. “It was here many years ago, I last looked upon his face. Over there... is the dusty road, That took him away from me," And see“ she pointed vaguely, “Is where the rail fence used to be.” Into a spacious clearing, Auntie lead Sarah by the hand. “There... that’s all I have of his memory, Still growing in the sand.” With sunlight bursting all about, It stood majestic before their eyes. Growing wild and thriving; A white rose bush of enormous size. Young Sarah was overwhelmed; Strong emotion filled the air. She approached the plant of profound size With curiosity and care. Gingerly touching a soft blossom; To open its petals wide, She gazed upon a miracle of love, A bright red stain inside. - - - - - "So many years have passed now," Sarah said with a sigh, “Yet, this wondrous rose bush Nurtures a love that will never die." Copyright 2000 Robert G. Jerore; Author