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Becoming Heroes.

Becoming Heroes

   When my sons were little
   I used to watch them sometimes
   coming to life as GI Joe; oh to be like him!
   charging through the jungle,
      sending rockets through the air,
         rescuing wounded comrades....
   they saw themselves victorious, winning,
   strong,
       but sometimes,
           sometimes,
              they fell down,
                  dead.
   They were practicing dying, my little boys,
      learning how to be heroes.
   It frightened me;
   I held my breath and I thought,
   no, no, please,
      not for them,
          not for them such destruction.
   Too many have run off to change the
   world in battle;
   my father,
       my brother,
          my cousins,
      my kin,
   all called away,
      away,
         and away,
            never to be the same again.
   War is seductive, promising glory;
      a uniform inspires respect,
   it fosters dreams of fame,
      wearing it transforms innocence
      into pride.

   What dreams a soldier has!

   He will charge toward the ranks
   of his enemy,
      he will gallop unharmed through
      his foes
          as he wields his mighty sword
   and chops off every head!

   And when the battle is
   over he will ride,
   victorious, in the parade!

   How they will celebrate him!
   How they will roar his name!
   Here comes the victor now!

   In his dreams the hero sees no pain,
   no agony or woe,
   just trumpets blaring
   and flags waving to urge him on[

   What amazing joy will be his prize!

   What joy?

   What kind of fame?

   The limp anonymous body bag of the
   dead hero is carried off to Valhalla
   by a shrieking Valkyrie
      is left there on the growing pile;
        he is fodder,
          he is refuse,
             he is dust.
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Title Annotation:POETRY CONTEST
Author:Schaffer, Marion
Publication:Presbyterian Record
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jun 1, 2007
Words:263
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