Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Ghost of Champ Ferguson

One night as I walked home from work
Up 'Rube Sloan Hollow' past Clear Fork Church
I stopped at the spring at the end of the draw
And my heart froze at what I saw
The moon shone bright on the Eastern hill
And there in the shadows deathly still
Stood a towering form in an old grey suit
A grey flopped hat and brogan boots
Long bones hung down from braided sleeves
And an eerie skull where the face should be
'Twas a Captain's uniform he wore
He'd served the South in the Civil War
I wanted to run but couldn't move
'Twas then I heard the roaring hooves
Of a dozen horses as they came
And stood around me at the spring
The men dismounted and sat down
They placed their rifles on the ground
Took off their caps then I could see
These men were Southern Calvary
They hadn't stopped when peace was signed
Their cause still burned within their minds
These men had waged a private war
They'd killed and wounded dozens more
Now they weren't strangers to this place
A hundred nights they'd turned their face
To this one spot where they were safe
When the Army or the Law gave chase
But a hundred years had passed in flight
And these dead men came back tonight
And there around the Clear Fork Spring
They met their leader once again
When I realized what was taking place
Instead of a skull, I saw a face
A handsome face that matched his size
With coal black hair and dark brown eyes
Six feet three and straight as an oak
He looked at me but he never spoke
The distant cry of a Whipporwill
A passing breeze that left a chill
The bat of an eye and they were gone
And I stood there at the spring alone
All night I stood there on that ground
Unable to move or to make a sound
But then I knew with the breaking dawn
I'd seen the Ghost of Champ Ferguson

- Morris Gaskins (1973)

The original drawing had a notation that read, "When viewed from a distance of eight feet or more, the drawing above by Morris Gaskins, shows a sad face with closed eyes and drawn lips. When viewed at close range, the face of a skull appears."

1 comment:

  1. I think I will go ride my motorcycle down, to again pay my respects to this long forgoften Confederate hero!
    Thanks for the poem.

    Local Boy,
    Justin Owen


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