Restless Sentry
by Robert L. Hinshaw

The final notes of "Taps" echoed o'er the field of honored dead;
The rising moon's mellow glow upon the peaceful scene was spread.
Its rays grazed the worthy name that on each stone was graven;
'Neath the clay lay heroes asleep in their hallowed haven.

On such brightly moonlit nights, according to local lore,
A spectral sentry is seen on duty - known by the uniform he wore.
'Tis said his restless spirit seems to be on an endless quest,
Searching, ever searching as if for his own eternal rest.

He is heard to count cadence as he walks his lonely post;
'Tis said that he carries a lantern, this melancholy ghost.
He kneels at each grave and peers at the name etched thereon;
He is heard softly sobbing - he salutes and then moves on.

Is he searching for a comrade, who with him bore the awful strife,
And 'midst the cannon's roar and muskets' rattle forfeited life?
Or, does he seek his name on every polished marble stone?
Alas, could it be that his reads: "Known But To God Alone?"

As he makes his ghostly rounds, heard are his plaintive moans,
When he gently caresses the name on each of the marble stones.
The restless phantom presses on, wearily, wearily lurching,
Faithfully walking his post, searching, ever searching.

Copyright © 2007 - Robert L. Hinshaw
Published: 3/6/08   ·  Author's Page   ·  Next Poem