This Mask We Wear

by | Jan 1, 2006 | Poetry | 1 comment

Look under the mask we soldiers wear,
look under the mask if you dare.
Look under the mask and see behind,
Or are you scared of what you’ll find.

We are not beasts nor men of war,
we do not wait to hear deaths door.
We do not relish the death we see,
we only fight by your decree.

You condemn us all as if you knew,
you say your words without a clue.
You dare not look into our eyes,
dying daily under scorching skies.

We serve and watch our brother’s fall,
but hear the names you give us all.
Please take a moment look and see,
our fears, our terror, our misery.

We are not heroes from comic books,
we’re not all handsome blessed with looks.
We are not fearless men of war,
but merely reapers by deaths door.

You sent us here or so it seems,
and expect our hands to stay so clean.
But in this place we see such sights,
which make your sons change overnight.

You hear of a child just last night killed,
and the fathers heart with hatred filled.
You say god bless please don’t feel shame,
if I were he I’d feel the same.

But in our case you blame us quick,
no thought of what has made us sick.
It was not daughter, son or kin,
but one of our brothers – our brethren.

We really are a band of brothers,
our mates beside us from one mother.
She guides us through both day and night,
and if we’re lucky past the fire fight.

And when a son of hers doth die,
in writhing agony screaming why.
His brothers gathered by his side,
we hold his hand and watch him die.

You have to know just how this felt,
my brother a boy (God how I wept).
He squeezed my hand and kissed it too,
and begged for me to pull him through.

I lied of course and told him “sure”,
I lied because there was no cure.
I lied to let him die in peace,
I lied to make his pleading cease.

We watched him crying, spewing blood,
we watched him twitching soaked in mud.
We held him tight to let him know,
his brothers were with him – time to go.

To go through this but not just then,
but time and time more boys again.
You tend to lose the human code,
and mutate into killing mode.

Are we still human I hear you ask,
it changes daily from task to task.
But picture now what we go through,
now ask yourself the truth, could you?

I am not here to change the bad,
what some do in war is more than sad.
But try to imagine the awful facts,
you can’t get close, thank God for that.

Your little boy who went to war,
your little baby to foreign shores.
Please understand we still are here,
but look past our sin and see our tears.

We’ve seen such horrors done to mates,
we’ve lain and wept till sleep us takes.
Our nightly dreams of things gone past,
bodies of mates torn by blasts.

So when you condemn our brothers now,
Remember please this poem and how –
We’ve paid for war with blood and sin,
please don’t make us pay again.

But if you want to hound us down,
bring us to justice before the crown.
Bear this in mind before you do,
what would you have done if we were you?

I’d not have done it I hear you shout,
they signed the line let’s throw them out!
God help you sleep at peace tonight,
and pray you never have to fight.

To close this poem I admit the shame,
the guilt of sin this weight of pain.
I’ll live with this my whole life through,
give thanks to God it was not you.

Like soldiers gone in wars before – adieu.

1 Comment

  1. Mac

    “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”


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