Wars Kill People...Don't They?
Wars Kill People…Don’t They? 320 words
To die for one’s country,
Is a beautiful and fitting thing.
They were words I once heard,
But it’s not a song I’m proud to sing.
My comrades should have been,
Allowed their three score and ten.
But they were cut down in their prime,
Boys who, overnight, became brave men.
Gilded names they leave as legacy,
But does that bring comfort to a wife?
Those young men lying where they fell,
The dead and dying; they had a right to life.
Boys that should have grown into men,
Were transported to a foreign field,
And told to capture a piece of land,
Which, at all costs, they must not yield.
So they died in their thousands,
For some General’s mistaken ideal,
That waging a war of attrition,
Would never be his Achilles heel.
Those brave and broken boys,
Betrayed by those in authority,
Were then betrayed again,
When not considered a priority.
Their anguish not recognized,
So some took up the pen,
And wrote in rhyme the reason
Why: they could never be mended men.
Oh, they’ll be honoured…once a year,
Handed medals which are cheap,
A wheelchair if they’re lucky,
Oh, it’s enough to make one weep.
A Prime Minister speaks of gallantry,
While those in the armed forces,
Hold tight to their sacks of money,
Saying they must protect their resources.
How does one put a price on a lost limb?
Or weigh the cost of a man’s tortured mind?
Shell shocked and desperate to forget,
Is the common symptom many doctors find.
Once home I struggle to pick up my life,
Trying to forget the horrors I have seen,
But the faces of dead comrades,
Remind me where I’ve been.
I still see that crop of cadavers,
In the ploughed darkness of my dreams,
So I place a pillow over my face,
To smother the sound of my screams.