Garlands

by Amos Russel Wells

What are the garlands we lay on the graves?
Heapings of blossoms that loveliest are?
Beauty supreme for the bravest of braves?
Yes, and an offering holier far.

Here are the garlands of memories clear,
Thoughts of the partings the desperate frays,
Marches and prisons and hospitals drear,
Triumphs and woes of those terrible days.
Garlands of gratitude fadeless and fair
Lie on the graves of our glorious dead,—
Grateful for freedom that breathes in the air,
Grateful for union that floats overhead.

Garlands of love from the children and wives,
Garlands of hope for the nation to day,
Garlands of offered and consecrate lives,
These on the graves of our heroes we lay.

Roses and lilies and violets blue,
Daffodils, tulips, and all of the rest,—
Ah, dear departed, brave patriots true,
We know what garlands will please you the best!

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