The Tennessee Abolitionist: Jeremiah Dalton


Jeremiah Dalton (1824-1882), XII Corps, Union Army. “To go against everything I’ve known, against everything everyone around me believes, against everything the churchmen preach, against everything my father and his fathers taught, against traditions and beliefs going back hundreds, thousands of years, evoking scorn, mockery, anger, disgust and violence from my own society, my own family – to do this and to believe that I am right and everyone around me is wrong, that I am not mad, deluded, corrupted, but that they are … This is the painful course of my life. Yet I will bear it out to the end, whatever the cost.”

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Bio: Miriam Landor


Miriam Landor (b. 1981). Poet. Her books include Amharic Odes, Decadent Lustre, and The Afterlife of Roy Earle.

Jesus Christ was a woman walking in her garden with her wife, a Persian poet. 
They held hands in the twilight, talking low of daily things. 
The rustle of their long skirts on the grass, the fires and flowers 
that decorated their tunics gave holy substance to the moment. 
Laila’s brother came to mind, a soul abandoned to itself, left in torment, 
and they lamented his condition, and sent up prayers on his behalf. 
Darkening and dewing, the hour crept toward the time for sleep. But they lingered, 
taking one more turn along the walls, growing closer in silence, 
closer and deeper in a togetherness that made each soul more its own.

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Second Sight

O days when the world was fair and strange,
and strange stars blazed in the Southern night.
Ghostly scent of pine from the canopy
shrouding the encampment; strange landscape,
strange birds, unknown back home, smoke rising
from half-extinguished fires. These long veins
of memory, monstrous harmonies
chiming and vanishing, phantoms of blood,
all that was gracious, unwizarded,
poured out like Death bestowing his gifts
on the battlefield. The harsh features
of the later world, drear and somber,
I willingly surrender to the prelude.

(Interlaced cuttings from Ambrose Pierce)

©2017 by Chris Floyd


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Against Despair


Not everything.
Not paradise or perfection.
But many things.
Better things.

Clearer, deeper ways of seeing.
Richer, deeper ways of being.
Many things are possible.

Despair is a disease spread by the powerful,
like smallpox laced in a blanket,
to keep us weak, distracted, and in thrall.

Time is against us, always against us,
the mortal tincture working its way.
But while breath and blood still flow
behind the caging bone



©2017 by Chris Floyd

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Electric Light Comes to Moscow

Boris Pasternak Writing 1919 by Leonid Pasternak 1862-1945

At midnight, not a flicker; it’s still burning,
blank and unobtrusive on my desk.
No presence to be taken in or tended:
a flame that’s conquered night but lost its breath.

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Yesterday We Found It

They lined the pit with well-cut planks,
and when the body was laid in,
they roofed it close with more wood.
Then they heaped earth down,
to preserve the corpse, worthy vessel
of its soul, from rain and time’s ruin.

Yesterday we found it.

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“You know the cure…”

You know the cure btumblr_nhk8ymiohm1ry29poo1_1280ut you can’t take it.
Something blocks you – something, nothing:
the slightest, slenderest wall of glass
keeps you from stepping out of hell
and into the full monty, double-whammy,
ding-dong-daddy of life in the world.
A veil as thin as gossamer … but not even
the atom bomb your grandfather built
could blow a way through. Strange,
this, so strange: sitting in a meeting
with your soul on fire, and no one
can even see the smoke.

©2017 by Chris Floyd
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