Sunday, February 17, 2008


I saw them on the platform,
a mother and her son;
he was in his uniform,
she in blue homespun.

We were crowded close enough
that I couldn’t help but hear;
he was acting cool and tough,
but she could see his fear.

“I know you’ll be a righteous man,
and do the things you must.
It’s all in Heaven’s perfect plan,
the only plan we trust.”

“War is hell; we’ve heard it said,
and it’s very likely true;
but you’ll get accustomed to the dead
after one or two.”

“The sooner you get on with it
the sooner we’ll be done.
It won’t be easy, I admit,
but try to have some fun.”

“Splash their bodies in the street,
paint the walls with brains;
don’t stop until their blood completely
stops the city drains.”

“String their guts across the sand
to ripen in the sun,
and keep your Bible close at hand,
your Bible and your gun.”

“And don’t forget the children, Dear;
a couple every day;
they’re little heathen eyes and ears,
don’t let them get away.”

“Free the ground of Christendom
from the moon and scimitar.
Spread the word of Jesus from
Kirkuk to Kandahar.”

“When all of them are belly up
and victory’s in sight,
we’ll kill a pig and raise a cup
and celebrate all night.”

“I love you, Ma,” the soldier said,
a glisten in his eye,
“I love you, too, so go ahead.
Goodbye, my boy, Goodbye.”


Minx said...

But when it is done in God's name it is surely right, John?

John said...

As ever.

Debi said...

This should be on the school syllabus. But it won't be, of course.

leslie said...

You made rhyme that which has no reason.

pundy said...

I read this poem and felt sick and then I cried. This truth is almost unbearable.

Look for hope too, though. That is your duty as a poet. And find it. It's only the poets that can offer us hope.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

This is gut wrenching, John - powerful, deeply disturbing - as it's meant to be. In God's name, eh? *shakes head*