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Poetry Magnum Opus

Soldiers Blue

Frank E Gibbard

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Frank E Gibbard

In days when the plains thundered with thousands of hooves

Nature’s bounty was as munificent as the brightening dawn

That warmed the chilled hides of the by now fireless tepees

The stirring bodies grudgingly quit proximity to spent embers

The sun stippling the smoky gloom betokened its silent alarm

Customary dial of the diurnal clock until the dying of the day

As it traversed the yawning sky all eye the cyclical procession

Of the early orb their guiding light before the late arriving moon

Awakening collective response now motivated a spurt of activity

Like so many opened blooms the tribal society popped domiciles

Squaws carrying infants readied a breast for a much needed feed

Braves rustle up their roustabouts to un-corral their fleetest mustang

Would-be warriors loose off a few blunt trainee arrows at odd dogs

The gamut of rural activity burgeons throughout the camp concourse

Peace reigned in a blissful way of unchallenged domesticity this day

And then the detachment rode as ordered descending like a tornado

Soldiers in blue - as they always seem to do - at movie’s end arrived


(scene from Soldier Blue depicting a US cavalry massacre in this link)


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Good idea, Frank: take a scene from a movie and write a poem about it. You've got some interesting expressions in this one -- spent embers, diurnal clock, yawning sky, spurt of activity, popped domiciles, unchallenged domesticity -- too many good ones to list them all. In addition to the first, the penultimate, and the last line, I also like

The stirring bodies grudgingly quit proximity to spent embers,


Peace reigned in a blissful way of unchallenged domesticity this day ...

Thank you for sharing this fascinating poem.



Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Hello Frank,


Bringing to life, a historical event is quite a challenge and you seem to have met this very well in your evocation of the massacre. With a wealth of details of "domesticity" with a focus on the natural cycle and rhythm, you recreate the Native Americans in the moments before their slaughter. Thus, the way you lead up from their daily routine to the appearance of the "Cavalry" makes for a chilling read.


Tony has highlighted images which I too find striking.


A sombre work.






Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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What I appreciate in this poem is the build-up of contrast against the ending. If this were film, there's very good cinematography here.

"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

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Frank E Gibbard

thanks Joel Golden Tony for your generous responses, Frank

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