Last ride to Natchez

A maiden cries with such despair
and touches hair in disarray;
She quivers so but must prepare
herself to be out on display.
She hears the creaking of the dray,
she must prepare to be polite
and so steps up into her shay.
A soldier's coming home tonight.

Her driver touches reins to mare.
She does not hear the horses neigh.
She stares ahead, so unaware
of greening fields in early May.
She shifts her weight with buggy sway
and shields her face from noonday light,
then bows her head, begins to pray;
A soldier's coming home tonight.

She fumbles beads and says a prayer.
Unsure of quite what she should say,
she questions God in this affair.
She must be strong. Her mind must stray,
a tear slips past and does betray
the moment they will reunite;
Her veiled face is ashen gray;
A soldier's coming home tonight.

Oh maiden, there's no prayers delay,
a coffin is a dreadful sight.
There's one more battle in the way;
A soldier's coming home tonight.


Copyright © Linda Lee.
Reprinted by permission.