• Now to whom does the victory go?
    The mangled corpse in the crimson snow?
    The weary soldier with soul-dead eyes
    Who looks at his hands and doth despise
    The grisly work that they have done
    ‘Ere he may call the battle won?
    Sons and fathers he hath slain
    ‘Ere he marches home again;
    Now tell me how he reconciles
    How those bloodstained hands caress his child?
    Tell me when you say “victory”
    What scene does your mind’s eye see?
    Soldiers, standing on a hill
    Battle won by force of will;
    Or do you see triumphant tanks
    And civilians crowding, giving thanks?
    I’ll tell you what you do not see-
    Real soldiers, heroes, men like me;
    Shoulders slumped with great fatigue
    And heads are bowed to comrades grieve
    With darker stains than mundane grime
    On boots, on hands, on heart, on mind…
    Do you see the price that’s paid
    For your one great, glorious day?
    People march ‘neath waving flag
    Now hear the politicians brag
    Shining brass of higher rank,
    Stars never seen the fetid, dank
    Aspect of this “glorious” war
    They stood and loudly did call for
    The burning, broken, twisted wrecks
    The unforeseeable, omnipresent Death?
    The silent spectre in night-black hood
    Would take us all if he but could
    Alas, he has room for but one man
    And as smoke clears now I can
    See whose tale he chose to end
    And close the eyes of my dead friend.
    And here beneath the darkening sky
    Who is here to heed my cry?
    To wipe my tears, assuage my pain
    Add him to the flag-wrapped train
    And a memory of the man before
    Is all we have left from this war
    That tore my good friend from my breast
    And ungently laid him down to rest.
    We gathered then to bid adieu
    And slowly the night swallowed us, too.