DEATH’S TATTOO

                                               By: Anthony G. D’Agnese

 

                                                There was an Irish drummer boy

                                                     who beat a bold tattoo

                                                upon the skins of battle

                                                      in the war of grey and blue.

 

                                                His name was Michael Mullins.

                                                    His story ‘twas not new.

                                                To find a home among the troops,

                                                    he joined the Union Blue.

 

                                                By spring he’d seen some fighting

                                                   and bloodshed, I’ll tell you,

                                                of friends and foes in battles

                                                   left as corpses for the dew.

 

                                                But, one day late in summer

                                                   when foes together drew,

                                                he watched his valiant company

                                                    reduced to thirty-two

 

                                                What took the field was courage:

                                                   as bullets thick they flew,

                                                the soldiers there could always hear

                                                   the drummer’s boy’s tattoo.

 

                                                Amongst the dead and wounded,

                                                   he played the martial tune

                                                for all his friends who died there,

                                                   whose bodies lay askew.

 

                                                Tears coursed his cheeks for Clancy,

                                                   whose bright smile he once knew.

                                                Some fell as well for Curran,

                                                   who’d helped to see him through.

 

                                                As bullets mashed and mangled

                                                   the men who wore the blue,

                                                young Michael never faltered

                                                   he stood there fast and true

 

                                                and played his drum for freedom,

                                                   for friends: that, he could do.

                                                When the battle it was over,

                                                   Victorious was the blue…

 

                                                Some comrades came to comfort him

                                                   -he’d lost his friends, they knew.

                                                But, Michael kept on beating

                                                   a somber, slow tattoo.

 

                                                To this day that battlefield,

                                                    which death and courage knew,

                                                hears echoes of a drumbeat

                                                   -the sound of Death’s Tattoo.

 

                                                the echoes of a drumbeat

                                                   -the sound of Death’s Tattoo.



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