Thoughts on Fort Marcy

"Thoughts on Fort Marcy" is a poem written by Lillian Money-Read that was published in the The Washington Post, April 12, 1936. The poem is an eloquent tribute to not only Fort Marcy but the other forts in the Defenses of Washington system that have, over time, been covered by deciduous forests of American elm, yellow-poplar, and white ash. Today these remnant earthworks are a silent reminder of the protective shield that surrounded the nation’s capital during the Civil War years.

Thoughts on Fort Marcy
By Lillian Money-Read

The woodland drips with sun-warmed April rain,
The trees are colorful with new–oped leaves,
With half-blown buds the dogwood trees are snowed,
The maple-tassels, green with scarlet cleaves.

May apple flings its sweetness on the air,
Translucent stemmed, the big dark violet
And pied spring beauty, bride of early morn
Bloom in the vivid moss with shy bluet.

My dog bounds down and leaves a darkened trail
Along the silvered hillside, wild with mirth,
His mouth is spread, his limpid eyes a-shine,
His muzzle wet with brown, sweet-smelling earth.

On fair Fort Marcy, thus I dream today.
And hear the swollen creek rush to the river,
With muffled roar like a dreadful battle din
Which made, of old, these frightened forests shiver!

Ah, bright the ferns that clothe these silent moats,
And sweet the lanes where walked the sentinel,
Yet scarce a flower springs on this haunted ground
But marks the place where some young soldier fell!

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