It was the bloodbath battle of the Civil War;
Scores of men died, by musket, the gore;
Was this brave dead soldier from north or from south,
Left on the field, blood gushed from his mouth;

He had a young sweetheart, love oozed from her breast,
But he never came home, just like the rest;
Was he union or confederate, his uniform too soaked;
His features so mangled his loyalty cloaked;

His flesh turned rancid as decay set in,
The maggots rejoiced in the bounty of sin;
Some looters took aim at his lockets and gear,
Never mind that his kinfolk would hold them so dear;

The generals conferred in their well armed tents,
In their starched uniforms acting oh so like gents;
Was it a victory or was it a draw?
No one was sure, the loss was too raw.

The bloodiest day in the land’s history,
It turned the war’s corner, that’s no mystery;
But at the end of it all only one thing is sure:
Dead is dead, and for that there’s no cure.



The Toreador

His red cape flared with the flick of his wrist,
__His embroidered vest sparkled and shone
From the glaring sun high in the sky,
__His mastery of the bulls was well known;

The night before he drank to a toast
__Of his prowess over women and beast,
The conquest of both was his calling card,
__He relished indulging the feast;

They danced and they gorged on the plentiful spread,
__The goblets were filled to the brim,
Bring me a wench to quench my thirst,
__They coddled his every whim;

Into the night the festivities lingered,
__Till the last cup of mead was consumed;
He finally laid himself down to sleep,
__His victory on the morrow presumed;

The crowd was aroar as they opened the pen,
__The bull took a menacing stance,
Undaunted he waved to the adoring throng
__And began his taunting dance;

He swayed his hips to the left and the right,
__His cape a servant to will,
His challenger eyed him with steely grit,
__Lining him up for the kill;

The charge began as they made their first pass,
__Neither the victor nor prey,
No matter, he mused, the picador comes
__To make this an easier play;

One stab, then two, the wounded brute staggered,
__His assassin’s sword glistened and raised,
One final thrust was all that was left,
__Then the mighty hero would be praised;

The arena went wild as the climax arrived,
__The glare off the sword hit his eyes;
The instant was swift, no mercy to be had,
__The goring stifled his cries;

There were two deaths that day ‘neath the blazing sun,
__Two hearts that no longer beat;
One a true victim with no crime attached,
__The other an end in defeat.



The Lonely Cowpoke

He’s up before dawn to get out the hay,
Horses need feedin’ no matter the day;
Check out the gates, fastened and locked,
No room for rustlers, make sure they’re blocked;

Slop for the pigs, grain for the hens,
Work dawn to dusk, no time for friends;
Roosters are squawking to awaken the sheep,
The barn is untidy, in need of a sweep;

Where are the buckets to hand milk the dames,
He hadn’t a sweetheart but knew the cows’ names;
Nanny goats roam as billies make chase,
Better hurry up, ladies, and quicken the pace;

The donkey brays for its mate down the field,
He watches their coupling, their future is sealed;
Llamas snuggle close as their wool intertwines,
Caws of wild birds making love on the vines;

One day a delivery came to the gate,
Supplies to replenish, but a happening of fate;
The merchant took ill, sent his filly instead,
Her golden mane flowed and dizzied his head;

Before long a smile formed beneath his mustache,
His ardor was stirred, it arose in a flash;
He chewed his straw grass as he pondered his move,
Calm and serene, he had nothing to prove;

He pinched off a daisy and offered his prize,
She accepted the gift with lust in her eyes;
His spurs tossed aside as they dropped to the floor,
And the lonely cowpoke was lonely no more.



Vicki Roberts is a retired but actively licensed attorney and was an on-air legal commentator, as well as a television and film personality. After graduating as valedictorian of her high school class on Long Island, New York, she obtained a degree in Radio, Television, and Film from California State University, Northridge in 1980.  She graduated from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, California in 1982, and was admitted to the California Bar in 1983.  Roberts served as Judge Pro Tem for the Los Angeles Municipal Court from 1984 through 1990 and was a civil and criminal litigator, appellate practitioner, and on-air legal commentator. Roberts was also a leading attorney contributor to the book Beyond a Reasonable Doubt introduced by Larry King. She now resides in Palm Beach County, Florida.

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6 Responses

  1. Paul Freeman

    I loved the contrast you brought to these three poems – the sombreness of Antietam, the Hemminway-esque foreshadowing of the Toreador’s fate, and the lightheartedness of the cowpoke who gives a whole new meaning to ‘pushing up daisies’.

    Thanks for the reads, Vicki.

  2. Paul Buchheit

    I enjoyed your poems, Vicki, especially the descriptive story of “The Toreador”!


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