An Occurrence at Columbia

from by Sherman to the Fucking Sea

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about

On February 17, 1865, Sherman's army burned down a convent in Columbia, South Carolina. Sherman claimed it was an accident, that a nearby fire took hold of a store of cotton next to the building and the fire went beyond his men's control. For others, it reinforced that idea that Sherman's cruelty was boundless.

lyrics

“One night I thirsted like a prince
Then like a king / then like an empire /
like a world / on fire.” - James Dickey

One wakes to find
her bed in flames.
Outside they quote ancient rules
but no voices will claim them.

O Death! O Death!
Grace find my feet tonight.

Accidents
are for bleeding hands.
Accidents
are born in the mouths of babes.

Their life is with God alone.
They’ve sworn their wombs to the lord.
You never learned to leave
well enough alone.

Sisters hear us out!
Our swords guide not the wind!
We did this not with white teeth.
Tell not of us black tales.

Liars.

We know the sound of the trumpet.
We’ve drunk the guts of the Saints.
And we know the hand of the Deceiver
It holds a torch and it’s cold to the touch.

Release.

Release my soul to the hounds.
From the jaws of death I am saved.
In the hands of Christ I am found.
My heart has no earthly grave.

Burn what you will.
My flesh feels no flame.
Burn what you will.
The Lord knows not your name.

credits

from The Lost Army, released January 14, 2011

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