Mathew Brady’s Greenhouse

civil war photograph
After the American Civil War, thousands of Brady’s glass plate negatives “were sold to greenhouses around the nation, not for their images but as replacement glass. In the years after Appomattox, the sun slowly burned the image of war from thousands of greenhouse panes.” 
Ken Burns, The New York Times

It was neither a shadow nor a figment.
It stood testament to the ravages of time
and to the battlefield, now silent,
to the courage of men and to their blood
which seeped quickly into this good earth.
To the solemn dignity of those glass portraits,
as they guarded tender plants and vines,
their truth fading in the penetrating glare.
Those fields, those bloated bodies,
those cities, restless and tired,
all vanishing in the heat of the sun
into the eternal light of infinity.
What remains now are only our sentiments,
caught up in the mythology of memory,
and the foolish hope that this sad war
will not be repeated, will not be repeated.

Karen Petersen

If you have any thoughts on this poem,  Karen Petersen  would be pleased to hear them.