Friday, April 6, 2012

The Unknown Soldier

I am the unknown soldier. You think I sleep beneath a marble slab. Upon that slab you lay green wreaths, your tribute to my memory. I have no name, yet you exalt me, I am a symbol, nameless, my tomb is honored because, with other men, I fell in battle. We gave our lives. For what? I wonder most today. An armistice? Forgive me if I laugh and if the tears coarse down your cheeks, weep not for me, but for the living. I am at peace. For me the war is done. Grieve, rather, for the young men doomed to die. Made in God's image or our God in man's, men yet are beasts, killing with claw and tooth to gain their earthly ends. You call it noble, your country calls, you go, mayhap to death. To screaming shell, to gas that eats your lungs, making consciousness a thousands hells. To death by flame, by torture. Or you die quickly as I died, in one swift, awful blast. You wonder that I speak as nations war again, sending their sons to death? What meaning has this day, why lay these wreaths, if men are still to die because they dare not live? I do not know the answer. I only know that once we faught for peace. That wars might end. I have found peace. No more will I thirst nor pain, nor hunger gnaw my side, nor fever wrack me on a soldiers bed. I shall not know the fear of death or fear of life. I shall not want for aught. I shall not kill, nor covet, I shall not steal or lie. For me there is an end to all you know. Grieve not for me, I beg of you. I grieve for you.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry to bother you but I'm trying to track down the origin of this poem and was wondering if you recall where you got it from. It appears nowhere else on the Internet! The reason is that it is part of a ceremonial area in Yucaipa CA and I'd love to know who wrote it. Thanks very much. Mike.