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Four Sonnets on War
"And I did love a soldier once, he was
Taken from me, and tears were in his eyes
At his induction; so it came to pass,
Though everybody said it was not wise.
To love a soldier--and he passed from me,
In service of some principles renowned;
We wrote, I wrote, and though we pledged to be
Faithful our love in time it was disowned.
Because I saw him turn into a man,
And turning, pass from me, a lithesome lass,
A boy when he went in, in that brief span
Become a man, who from me he did pass.
I learned that love has seldom time to tarry,
Nor ever does outlast the military."
"She swore to wait for me on my return,
And I believed her vow - I was a man,
And while I was away my thoughts would burn
Through to her photograph. I got a tan.
My skin became so dark, my head so big -
Mother and sister took me to the train,
And told me not to cry - but others did -
And I could see my Mommašs face in pain.
And from the train they transferred us to God
Knows where or cares, but I came through it though -
It strengthened me in mind and in my bod,
And taught me what a boy did never know.
She married with my friend; but we were sent,
To where I saw--well, anyhow, we went."
"I served my country fifty years ago
At Normandy, and many of us died,
But we were able to turn back the foe
And drive him out of Europe, vilified;
The Nazi threat, though Išve heard said today
That what we did was not worth fighting for,
Or dying for - so to these sayers say,
Just wait until the threat is at your door.
My son was killed in battle after me,
Hamburger Hill, that ground him up like meat,
His name is on the wall, for all to see,
With all the other names that war did eat.
I lost great many buddies, and a son,
Who heard the rapid riflešs orison."
"My son was killed in battle, and I say
No foe however great, no awful threat
Is worth the price a mother has to pay,
To see a son cut down, her baby yet.
The son I nurtured, brought forth from the womb,
Because some evil persons in a land
So far from here, have laid him in a tomb,
Forever dead, and I donšt understand.
They tell me that he die to serve his country,
And gave his life, that others may breathe free,
But this, and half a dozen reasons sundry
Canšt justify their taking him from me.
Mothers, give birth to daughters, not to sons,
Nor let them feed the slaughters of the guns."
POETRYREPAIRS 12.09: 104