Catholic Poetry: “You Silent Dead,” In Honor of the Civil War Veterans


By Sister Ignatius Summer, R.S.M.

The silent dead! The silent dead!

I’ve lingered where they sleep in peace,

Where care, and want, or thought of dread

There anguished vigils cease.

Our silent dead! Our silent dead!

They lure me to their mossy rest,

Where roses, snowy petals shed,

And birds sing requiems in their nest.

O silent dead! O silent dead!

Thus dreams my soul of deathless lands.

For in the limit of your bed

Time and eternity clasp hands.

You silent dead! You silent dead!

For me to come, for you ’tis passed,

And while the heavens bend o’er your bed

Your lessons wise and holy last.

Then silent dead! O silent dead!

Why should my restless spirit moan?

Your footsteps have to Calvary led,

And thither must thy soul be borne.

The peace you breathe even now must come

When the night of time has fled,

When the Bridegroom calls me home,

And I too, sleep with the silent dead.

NOTE: The above poem was written during the 1870’s. Cited in Kathleen Healy, R.S.M., Sisters of Mercy (New York: Paulist Press, 1992), 295-296.

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