A Civil War Poem: “Jim Limber’s Ghost”

Today, I’m speaking at Rayville, Louisiana at the high school. My schedule continues to fill with speaking appointments and book signings. Here is a poem I wrote that I intend to use in my Jim Limber presentation at schools and libraries. I hope you’ll let me know what you think of it. Write me at rickeyp@bayou.com.

Jim Limber’s Ghost

Come my children and follow me,
To the old sad South of 1863.
I’ll tell you of a black orphan child,
Cold, hungry, yet so sweet and mild,
Jim Limber is his name.

Walk with me through those Richmond streets,
Feel the February cold, hear the marching feet
Of soldiers of the blue and gray
See the tears of this orphan as he knelt to pray,
Jim Limber is his name.

The fever took his parents
When he was only five years old,
An orphan’s life was all he had,
Cold, hungry and alone.

Varina Davis rescued him,
From a guardian’s brutal blows,
Brought him to her family,
And gave him brand new clothes.

He lived there in the White House,
With Maggie, Jeff, and Joe
Then he vanished in the past,
When the Yankees made him go.

As I walked alone by the river,
I heard a young boy’s voice,
Calling from the darkness,
I stopped, I had no choice.

In the darkness there I listened
To his footsteps drawing near,
A young black child stood before me,
I saw him wipe a tear.

“Who are you son?” I asked him,
He looked me in the eye,
“I’m Jim Limber Davis,” he said,
“Or was, until I died.

“I lived in the Confederate White House,
With Maggie, Jeff, and Joe,
Adopted into the Davis clan,
Sir, I loved them so.

“A Yankee took me here one night,
Put his foot upon my chest,
And pushed me to the river’s bottom,
I guess you know the rest.

“The river’s cold here, mister,
Are they going to drown you too?
This here’s a place of death,
For me and some other few.

“Why did those Yankees hate me?
Was it because that I was black?
I was happy where I was,
But now I can’t go back.

“I was too young to understand war,
But I see things better now,
I know the evil of men’s hearts,
And how to read a frown.

He looked down at the river,
As if he were lost in thought,
Then walked back to the darkness,
And left me there distraught.

One of the South’s forgotten children,
Whose story we must proclaim,
A Confederate ghost who haunts this earth,
Jim Limber was his name.

One thought on “A Civil War Poem: “Jim Limber’s Ghost”

  1. What a BEAUTIFUL, POWERFUL, SAD poem, Rickey. Well done. Thanks for sharing.

    Best of luck to you with your travels and many presentations. Wow. You are a busy guy!


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