Poetry Break: “Let Me Tell You How I Died” – Bull Run: It’s Just Begun

Here I am! Bet you thought I dropped off the face of the earth, didn’t you? I wouldn’t blame you if you did. The truth is it’s been a crazy summer, with a lot of different things going on. First and foremost is the big book release, which you can learn more about by clicking the link below. It’s been a real learning curve navigating putting a book out into the world. If you think the process is all done when the book hits the shelves, well, you would be wrong! ๐Ÿ™‚ It turns out that’s when the real work begins with book signings, events, promotion, and advertising. Then while doing all that, I’ve also been hard at work on the next project, because we have to think ahead you know! I’ve been working on it for over a year, and just last month I finally got a rough draft turned into my agent. Now I sit in the doldrums of waiting for her notes, of which I’m sure she’ll have plenty, given that this is quite a rough first draft. But the waiting has given me a little time to slow down and start brushing off this old history blog! I’ve missed it to tell you the truth, and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with all of you in the weeks ahead. I thought I’d kick things off by continuing my historical poem covering various wars in US History. Remember that?! (For a refresher, click here). And since I’ve been dabbling with an old Civil War manuscript while I wait for notes on my other project (so many projects, so little time) I thought it would be fun to dive right into Part III – the Civil War. Which happens to be the final part. But fear not -there are seven segments that I will be posting in weeks to come. I hope you enjoy them all, as well as all the other posts I have planned for the rest of the year! Can’t wait, and hope to hear from all of you soon!ย 

Bull Run โ€“ Itโ€™s Just Begun

This will be a quick war, thatโ€™s what they said

There will be so few wounded, and so little dead

In our fine attire, to the drumbeat we went

โ€œWeโ€™ll show them rebels, weโ€™ll leave them spentโ€


But that wasnโ€™t the way it happened at all

At the place called Bull Run, we took a bad fall

The enemy in gray poured over the hill

Of their canon and shot, they gave us our fill


Thatโ€™s when I saw what the real war would be

Killing and death, thatโ€™s what they would see

Blood, bodies, brothers and sons dead

How many mothers would be filled with dread


I took my own shot, right in my heart

Blood spilled from me, I gave a start

I fell to the ground while the troops fell back

They broke in a panic, the rebels gave no slack


The gray triumphant, what will we do?

It will be a long war, Iโ€™m here to tell you

But I wonโ€™t see it, Iโ€™ll die here instead

Carry on, fellow soldiers, fight in my steadย 



To Be Continued…ย 



Photos by M.B. Henry. For more on the Civil War, click here, here, and here.ย 

If you’d like to learn about my debut novel, “All the Lights Above Us,” click here. And if you’re in the Traverse City area, come see me for a book signing on Saturday, October 8th, 1pm at Horizon Books!


62 Comments on “Poetry Break: “Let Me Tell You How I Died” – Bull Run: It’s Just Begun

  1. Powerful poem, MB. Yes, war is almost always more carnage-filled than unrealistic expectations indicate. ๐Ÿ™

  2. Great poem. I love the couplets. I’m glad you are continuing to write on a number of different platforms in various forms. Cannot wait to read more and see what your new project is. I finished the book and loved it! You have inspired me! Thank you!

    • That’s so wonderful that you took inspiration from the book! I’m always happy to hear that from readers. And thank you so, so much for the support! I have your poetry book in my library, I haven’t got to it yet with everything going on but I will very soon!

      • It was really great! I very much enjoyed it. I liked at the end how you told what was real and what/who you created. I want to write a review for you but need to gather my thoughts. My husband read it to snd enjoyed the story as well!

      • Yaaaaay!! Nothing makes my day better than hearing stuff like this! And thanks in advance for the review, they really help a lot! <3

    • Ooooh thank you so much for the support! It means a lot! I hope very much that you enjoy it

  3. Very moving poem and very sad. Brother agaisnt brother. You poetry paints a picture in the mind.

  4. Nice one M.B., I have to admit i’m not into poetry like my wife but your simple way is something thats understandable and moving, well done. I have my girls on the ready looking out for your book, like you said I don’t think the average the average Joe knows how much work goes into a lot of artistic work such as producing a book. Some people would say you are “lucky” but I would say well done for the hard work you have put into this venture!!

    • I’m sure you of all people appreciate how much goes into a work of art, given your own extraordinary artistic works Pat! ๐Ÿ™‚ And yay I hope very much that your girls enjoy it! Thank you so much for your support.

    • It seems a long time since I posted that first one! Got quite a few segments to go too, glad you’ve been enjoying it so far.

  5. M.B….I’m SO PROUD OF YOU! This poem about Bull Run makes me want to write a poem about Wilson’s Creek near me (the first Union general to be killed in the Civil War was here–Nathaniel Lyon). I included this history in my children’s book about Missouri. I know exactly how you feel about marketing. Writing seems to be the easiest part and then you have to MARKET! Oh, boy! YOU WILL BE A HIT!! The book a hit! Love and prayers on this awesome journey (and continuation of it…). Karla ๐Ÿ’•

    • Oh sure I’ve heard of Wilson’s Creek! Yes you should write the poem! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ I want you to know I think about you and pray for you often! <3

      • MBโ€ฆthat means so much to me. Likewise!! I will think about that poem and youโ€™d be the first person to read it. Sending love and prayers!! ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

  6. Welcome back! This was a good way to get back in the groove…Pretty and I just drove through Manassas as we left Washington DC last week. Hard to believe we may be reliving this national nightmare. Scary for all people of good will.

    • ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ Yes, very true. I find it no coincidence that I’m drawn to the Civil War again lately.

  7. Congratulations on your new book! Now you will be famous… on the NY Best Seller List!?? Who knows?
    I like the way you turned history into a personal event with you poem. War is never pretty or short it seems. Glad to see you back on the posting again.

    • No matter how far the book goes, I’m just happy to see it on store shelves. Nothing really beats the thrill of that, and it’s a dream come true! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for your support, and I’m so happy you enjoyed the poem!

  8. Published author has a nice ring to it. Youโ€™ve worked hard and deserve the title. The poem reminds me of what is going on in Ukraine. So destructive, so many lives lost, so heartbreaking. Be well.

    • Yes – I think this series pairs well with the Ukraine. Indeed so heartbreaking. Just awful to watch, I can’t even imagine what it’s like to live it.

  9. Great work MB. Love it. I really hope all is going well for you with the book. The little I know about your civil war is fascinating – such a terrible conflict (as civil wars tend to be) and still resonating all these years later. As an outsider, one wonders whether some have accepted that it is over. Anyway, the stories are compelling.

    • No, I don’t think we’ve ever healed up the wounds properly from that conflict, which is why I agree that it still resonates. Things are going pretty well with the book, trying to get the next one off the ground now too! I hope all is well with you also!

    • I sure did! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for reading, I’m glad you enjoyed it

  10. Great poem, though it’s really sad.
    Hope the feedback for your new book is positive and that you don’t have to wait too long.

    • So far, so good! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve gotten a few negatives in there but it’s to be expected ๐Ÿ™‚ I just hope it does well enough for me to write another one! How are things going with your books??

      • I actually get excited with the negative feedback – when the book is still in the pre-publish stage. That way, I can improve the “bad” parts.
        And as long as you have something you want to write, don’t let anyone’s opinion stop you from doing so. What someone didn’t like, someone else will always enjoy.

  11. Congrats on getting the book out and doing the appearances and outreach. Fine poem, loved the butterfly image. I visited many Civil War battlefields as a youngster in the DC area, I remember Gettysburg the best, but I also visited Bull Run. Best wishes for the next book!

    • I hope to make it to Bull Run one of these days – it’s up there on my list!

  12. It’ll be a short war, they said. Home by Christmas, they said. How many young men (and women) have heard that one?

    VERY excited to hear you’re working on a new book. I haven’t seen it here in Canada yet โ€“ at least in my area โ€“ so maybe I’ll start requesting it.

    • “Home by Christmas” seems like the refrain of so many conflicts, doesn’t it? An arrogant assumption on so many leaders’ parts. And thanks so much for your support about the book – I hope very much that you enjoy if you get a copy. I’m not sure where all it’s available internationally, but it’s available on Kindle if that helps?

  13. You are amazing! I love how you follow your heart and delve into what you love..history. Thank you for your informative, entertaining writings and shares.

    • Thank you so much for reading, and for your kind compliments! It truly makes my day

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