Saturday, April 7, 2007

Figure It Out Friday #9 Answer: The Contents of President Lincoln's Pockets


These were some of the contents of President Lincoln's pockets the night he was assassinated on Good Friday, April 14, 1865. He died the next morning at 7:22 AM at the Peterson House across the street from Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC.

The newspaper was not part of the contents, but has replaced the several newspaper clippings that were in his pockets.

But the most controversial article was the Confederate five dollar note which probably was picked up by President Lincoln when he and his son visited the Confederate Capitol Building (Commonwealth Capitol of Virginia) in the recently fallen Richmond.

During my research I came upon a rock song entitled, The Contents of Lincoln's Pockets, by a group called Rainer Maria - named for the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke. They disbanded this past December (2006). I thought the poetry was exceptional.

Contents of Lincoln's Pockets can be heard here through Rhapsody.

at the time of his assassination:
two pairs of spectacles, a lens polisher, a pocket knife,
a watch fob, a linen handkerchief,
a brown leather wallet containing five dollars
in confederate money and nine newspaper clippings
that there is walt whitman's pen
it sat in his hand and drank ink and whitman lay upstairs
and watched the trains, fascinated by the big engines
me, i'm just anxious.
lincoln struck at the back of the head as if by a velvet curtain
his body lists and folds, creased at the hip,
and rolls to the floor beside his seat
the light's gone out, but even now he's radiating heat
these relics rise like steam and each disseminates, encircling
like a halo down trajectory of a common crowd, simmering
slammed to the back of your head
you've never been hit before
how can you deal with that kind of information?
slammed to your chest
like a curtain hits the floor
how can you deal with that kind of information?

2 comments:

Mrs Mecomber said...

Good one!

Another tidbit of trivia is that Lincoln had recently become a Christian and was discussing with his wife how he would like to visit Jerusalem.

The Tour Marm said...

I think he was a Christian and G-dly man, but like many of us, started to emphasize the social rather than theological and spiritual.

His visit to Sharpsburg (Antietam) was I think, a turning point. His address at the Gettysburg National Cemetery is scripturally based and I think entirely from the heart.

(However, he did attend a theatrical performance on Good Friday.)