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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Body Language (11/25/10)

TITLE: Silent Witnesses
By Patricia Protzman


September moonbeams stream through the soft haze,
A prophetic glare as soldiers bivouac on the Antietam
Hillside. The awful stillness of its bright light gazes upon
The shadowy scene which projects ominous rumblings.

“For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you.”

Sentries stand guard, campfires blaze through the night.
Acres of tents stand dark and silent as death where one can
Almost hear the soft flutter of the Reaper’s wings as he hovers
Above and selects his victims for the morning sacrifice.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?”

Sleep weary ones before the morrow’s conflict. Envision your home
And loved ones left behind. Northern and Southern mothers, wives, sisters
Unaware of the hour, dream of your soldier boys, before their blood paints the
Landscape a crimson hue. Before war takes them from your arms...

“‘Be still, and know that I am God...’”

A foggy damp morning greets the young warriors. The busy camp is
Composed of solemn nods and salutes as preparations are made for combat.
Bewildered, young faces, most not old enough to shave, line up with their
Weapons and charge toward the foe with the roar of artillery in their ears.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield...”

Whimpers and screams echo on all sides. Gaping wounds with gushing blood
Spill onto the earth. Mangled limbs, missing arms and legs, faces blown away,
Abdomens penetrated; men bleeding to death from shell wounds, stacks of arms
And legs piled outside a window as surgeons work through the night.

“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

Someone lifts a wounded boy only to hear a soft whir, see his body quiver, and lie still. A leg is held for the surgeon to hack off without chloroform. An arm reaches upward as The Grim Reaper claims him. An angel of mercy wipes the death sweat from a cold, Clammy brow and closes sightless eyes. Another wets the parched tongue, calms Delirium’s strife, till the dying lips murmur, "Mother." or "My Wife."

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”

Broken bodies laid to sleep in hastily dugged graves by their
Union comrades who move on to another battlefield. Tomorrow
Night they may be the ones to repose under the reddened sod. But
For now another march, another bivouac, more injuries, suffering,
And deaths. Numerous battles to fight before the war is won.

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’”


(Scripture quotations taken from the NIV; Deuteronomy 23:14; Psalm 27:1; 46:10; 28:7; 116:15; 2 Corinthians 5:1; John 11:25)

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This article has been read 424 times
Member Comments
Member Date
stanley Bednarz12/03/10
Fantastic! I loved how you threaded the perfect scriptures within the framework of the Gettysburg battle. Loved the poetic prose approach too.
Your on my list. Stan
stanley Bednarz12/03/10
Sorry I did read the first part and meant to say Antietam. It makes this realtively unsong story all the more fitting.
Theresa Santy 12/04/10
My goodness! The words you've chosen and the way you've chosen to use them -- simply magnificent. I could not read this piece without feeling every bit of it settling in the center of my chest.

Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/05/10
This gave me chills and reminded me of the price so many have paid. Beautifully done.
Karen Pourbabaee 12/06/10
Stark reality yet hauntingly beautiful, the hope and life being brought forth by the scriptures perfectly woven throughout.
Lollie Hofer12/06/10
Your imagery at times made me flinch which means you did an excellent job with your descibing this horrible scene. I like how you interspersed the scenes with scriptures of hope.
Noel Mitaxa 12/06/10
I love how you have juxtaposed the apparently limitless waste of life - so graphically-described - with the more limitless grace of God in constructing this entry. I hope it rates well.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/09/10
Congratulations on your HC!
Lollie Hofer12/09/10
Congrats, Patricia, on your recognition for this incredible story. Well done.