Saturday, December 17, 2011

similar wars



similar wars

another war ending
more guilty feelings for not
being able to pick up a gun
or a fellow soldier’s  severed hand
or memory, a letter home
some part of speech lost
this war
had less protest than that one
where we would have put a daisy
in a gun barrel
and said “ make love, not war”
and surely the feelings are different now

my reluctance hardly balances
your willingness
my comfort weighs lightly
on your sacrifice
my desire for self-preservation
is too thin a veil to obscure the generosity
of you overcoming your fear
my inability to know what I might die for
can not diminish your steadfast belief
that you were doing the right thing
yet, at the end, I am here alive
while you are number 4,487
on another list of those lost to memory
who can say thank you, now
and have it mean anything
to your family, to anyone

conscripted, enlisted or dodged
does it matter whether this war
was any more necessary than that war
will it matter or not
if your death or my life was in vain

Barry DeCarli
Ferrisburgh, VT
December, 16-18, 2011
This poem was revised on Veteran's Day 2014
Copyright 2011 Barry DeCarli 





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