(a poem about the impact of war on our young soldiers and their
There's something in your face, Michael,
I've seen it all the day;
There's something quare that wasn't there
when first ye wint away ...
It's just the Army life, mother,
the drill, the left and right,
That puts the stiffinin' in yer spine
and locks yer jaw up tight ...
There's something in your eyes, Michael,
an' how they stare and stare --
You're lookin' at me now, me boy,
as if I wasn't there ...
It's just the things I've seen, mother,
the sights that come and come,
A bit o' broken, bloody pulp
that used to be a chum ...
There's something on your heart, Michael,
that makes ye wake at night,
And often when I hear ye moan,
I trimble in me fright ...
It's just a man I killed, mother,
a mother's son like me;
It seems he's always hauntin' me,
he'll never let me be ...
But maybe he was bad, Michael,
maybe it was right
To kill the inimy you hate,
in fair and honest fight ...
I did not hate at all, mother;
he never did me harm;
I think he was a lad like me,
who worked upon a farm ...
And what's it all about, Michael,
why did you have to go,
A quiet, peaceful lad like you,
and we were happy so? ...
It's thim that's up above, mother,
it's thim that sits an' rules;
We've got to fight the wars they make,
it's us as are the fools ...
And what will be the end, Michael,
and what's the use, I say,
Of fightin' if whoever wins,
it's us that's got to pay? ...
Oh, it will be the end, mother,
when lads like him and me,
That sweat to feed the ones above,
decide that we'll be free ...
And when will that day come, Michael,
and when will fightin' cease,
And simple folks may till their soil
and live and love in peace? ...
It's coming soon and soon, mother,
it's nearer every day,
When only men who work and sweat
will have a word to say;
When all who earn their honest bread
in every land and soil
Will claim the Brotherhood of Man,
the Comradship of Toil;
When we, the Workers, all demand:
"What are we fighting for?" ...
Then, then we'll end that stupid crime,
that's devil's madness -- War.
. . . Robert Service, 1919
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Page updated: June 06, 2009