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.
No comments available ...