Art and a Poem, Day 13, January 13, 2014

Battle of Nashville Winslow Homer

Battle of Nashville
Winslow Homer

Alas! This Is Not What I Thought Life Was

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Alas! this is not what I thought life was.
I knew that there were crimes and evil men,
Misery and hate; nor did I hope to pass
Untouched by suffering, through the rugged glen.
In mine own heart I saw as in a glass
The hearts of others … And when
I went among my kind, with triple brass
Of calm endurance my weak breast I armed,
To bear scorn, fear, and hate, a woful mass!

For some reason Shelley’s poem makes me think of the Civil War. Brother against brother. Father against son. Neighbors and life-long friends against each other. To me, it seems the ultimate injury and even worse heartbreak. And I’m not a huge fan of Civil War artwork for that reason. But, here it is.