Some arresting civil war portraits,
they are not easy to share.
Two young men posing awkwardly,
bow ties for battle, their absent smiles
due to the long exposure.
A picture may say a thousand words
but raises profound questions too.
It’s brother versus brother,
one in blue, the other in gray
and no quarter will be given,
courtesy of sponsors miles from the front.
There’s no fear in their eyes,
only the vacancy of open fields.
They will show allegiance to their flag,
let’s hope it protects them.
Both think their causes are just,
but many have come this way
and many more will follow –
in the name of liberty.
Their country may need them
but is it theirs?
These faded pictures
Forgotten names of young men
copyright Francis Barker 2020
*To the uninitiated, a haibun is the combination of a prose poem and a haiku.