Poem for remembrance

poem for remembrance

The car drives up; two uniforms emerge
Their discipline conceals their hearts
She sees, she knows, stands on the verge
That dark abyss no one departs
“Your son—” they say – she hears no more,
Just crumples helpless to the floor.

The box comes home, the days pass by
And in good time comes his last letter
His sacrifice – his reasons why –
“I hope I made someone’s life better.”
Yes, that was him, always for others,
And her – just one of thousands of mothers.

And do not doubt, the blood he shed
Made life improve for someone, sure –
But here’s the circumstance I dread
That makes this sacrifice impure:
If all this blood and all this pain
Is only for some rich men’s gain

Who took advantage of their power
And shaped a crafty little lie
For which the bodies hour by hour
Bombard and shoot and bleed and die
And so much money disappears
Purloined by those who milk our fears

But that young man, and all the others
Naïve, or brave, or strong, or giving
Their brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers
And all the ones that they leave living
All those stricken in whatever way –
Salute them all this Memorial Day.

(c) 2009 Skip Mendler
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