Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday's Poetry: "Two Sides of War (All Wars)"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

Today is the day that has been set aside by Congress to honor America's veterans.  As I looked for a poem to mark this observance, I realized that I have already used many of the best ones:  The Great Mandala, Twain's War Prayer, In Flanders Fields, Eve of Destruction, and several others.  Finding something appropriate to reflect on the awfulness and futility of war, while still showing respect to our brave youth who fight our wars, proved to be a challenge.

I finally settled on Two Sides of War (All Wars) by Grantland Rice.  It is a thoughtful piece that does not glorify war, and does not diminish those who serve.

Two Sides of War (All Wars)
by Grantland Rice

All wars are planned by older men
In council rooms apart,
Who call for greater armament
And map the battle chart.
But out along the shattered field
Where golden dreams turn gray,
How very young the faces were
Where all the dead men lay.

Portly and solemn in their pride,
The elders cast their vote
For this or that, or something else,
That sounds the martial note.

But where their sightless eyes stare out
Beyond life's vanished toys,
I've noticed nearly all the dead
Were hardly more than boys.

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