His daddy is fighting in Iraq.
His mommy is fighting tears.
His brother is fighting death.
He is fighting his desolation and fears.
Friends are but a dream
and companions are an illusion.
School is a concentration camp,
but he stands, though alone, in the midst of confusion.
His training school is loneliness.
His milestones are fears, thrust in lies.
His only weapon is faith
and his bullets are soft "hallelujah" cries.
Strength left his fragile body
and he lost the fight in life so coy,
yet on his knees he conquered agony
and I call him the little soldier boy.
My country is home,
I have no fear.
My country is home,
and I am here.
Fold the flag
Country contain me
And soldier no more
Place in a box
In three corners neat
Over the mantle
In silent entreat
How many knew him
How many cared
Was madness that slew him
And madness that dared
Where will it end
And where will it go
A lifetime has ended
And soldier no more
Spirit inside it
And never unfold
Defender behind us
A story untold
Is life better now
That we have made death
Did justice prevail
Or did it digress
The story should tell
A sacrifice made
But history dictates
And debts go unpaid
The Vikings were a race of men
That conquered many lands
They fought their wars with might and main
And power in their hands
They sailed the sea in dragon ships
Explored and conquered well
But now their greatness lies beneath
The rolling ocean swell
That homeless guy out on the corner,
Carrying a sign that says he’s hungry;
Maybe he’s just a drunk or a ‘stoner’,
But he might be that one-out-of-three.
That one-out-of-three is a veteran,
Who in uniform served his country.
There’s a good chance he has an addiction,
Or is still suffering from PTSD.
One out of three of those ones-out-of-three
Fought in one of America’s wars.
Did he scream on a beach in Normandy,
Or did he at Inchon go ashore.
Did he hunt Charlie in a rice paddy?
Was he in the Balkans, or lost in the sand?
One out of three of those ones-out-of-three,
Were the heroes who once took a stand.
If you can spare a few dollars, then feed them.
If not, at least hear what they say.
Their country may no longer need them,
But they don’t deserve to be thrown away.
They might not have all bled in battle,
But each one came home a casualty.
With your help, they may someday be able
To leave the ranks of the one-out-of-three.
I struggled, got her words just right
as I revised for half a night.
Onto the battlefield she rode
my glorious soldier named Ode.
Her rival said - "she's much too long!"
another nagged - "..setting's all wrong."
Broken and bruised my warrior stayed
doing her job, somewhat dismayed.
Hours before the contest was done
came this brassy note, only one.
"As I read, your piece was just fine
You just skipped ev'ry other line."
Front lines were chosen, mine were not.
My Ode retreated, proud to have fought.
Humbled, she found the road back home;
the battlefield is no place to roam.
I cannot look in your eyes from here,
To touch your soul with my gaze.
Your too far away to reach, My Dear,
To be taken in by my embrace.
My whispered thoughts cannot extend to there--
Where you are's too far away.
I can only touch the empty air
Instead of holding you near always.
So many men between you and I.
I envy each one his place.
Oh, to be at the head of that line,
Looking at you again face to face.
Wonder of wonders, fate of all fates...
I chose to be where I am:
Sitting alone laughing at regrets,
Cursing the notion "what might have been".
I wish I could steal your heart to here
And keep it captive near mine.
But hearts are only given, it's clear...
All I can do is offer you mine.
You asked again why do I go
And what's my cause in it
You talked of pain and ever show
The reason you disdain it
I cannot concede all your lost
Nor all that's stolen before
To see her taken is a cost
Our history cannot endure
Let them spit at me, and call
Me nigger names, them flags
That from the rampart fly, pall
Me deeper when victory sags
Tired to defeat, and I am shamed
Twice more in my nation's pain
Since I am its strength aflamed
The bulwark of pride's refrain
I go with certainty to save
The equal status of manhood
The chance to show the world I'm brave
The restrained wrath within my blood
Who will see me on war's far shore
And miss the Christian virtue
That forbids me even the score
For the years I endured hate through
(English translation below original French)
Rappelez-vous les petits fils
Qui ecoutaient leurs grand-peres
Raconter des histoires d’ infanteries
Et de battailles de la premiere guerre.
Rappelez-vous des braves garcons
Qui s’imaginaient etre des soldats,
Qui plus tard servaient le drapeau American
En tant que veritables soldats.
Rappelez-vous des pauvres parents
Qui ont recu des telegrammes et des lettres,
Et qui apres ont place indefiniment
Des etoiles d’ors aux fenetres.
Rappelez-vous de chaque petite amie
Qui esperait un jour se marier
Avec son beau voisin-ami
Qui ne va jamais plus rentrer.
Rappelez-vous des nouvelles jeunes veuves,
Avec ses petits orphelins des peres,
Qui devaient subir les enormes epreuves
D’elever leurs enfants sans l’aide des peres.
N’oubliez pas les anciens jeunes garcons—
Les chanceux qui ont survecu
Et regardent souvent les horizons lointains
Cherchant leures ami-fantomes qui ne sont jamais revenues.
Remember the grandsons
Who listened to their grandfathers
Tell stories of infantries
And battles of the first war.
Remember brave boys
Who pretended to be soldiers
Who later served the American flag
As real soldiers
Remember the poor parents
Who received telegrams and letters
And who afterward indefinitely placed
Gold stars in their windows.
Remember each girlfriend
Who hoped to marry someday
Her handsome neighbor/friend
Who will never come back again.
Remember the new young widows,
With their little fatherless children
Who had to undergo the enormous ordeals
Of raising children without a father’s help.
Don’t forget the former young boys-
The lucky ones who survived,
And often look at the far horizons
For their phantom-friends that never returned.