Colin F. Jones

THE FOLLOWERS

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: May 13, 2007
Awarded: May 13, 2007
The great volunteer army of reluctant warriors,
Knowing little of the conflict at home,
Doing their duty for a conglomeration of worriers,
Risking livelihood for what they condone.
They live in their strongholds trenches and holes,
Captives of their own strong defence,
Many thousands of like-clad individual souls,
Fighting and dying at the taxpayers’ expense.
Who then imprinted the flag on their breasts;
Who carved their God on their brains;
Who gave them the courage to mount the mad crests,
And spill their blood in foreign terrains.
Did they rise from their peace and liberated nests
Just to further their personal gains?

What is the reason good men go to war,
What lives in their nature to kill,
Is it simply obedience or is it much more,
An unbridled passionate will.
What makes a boy strut proudly about,
In the school yard impressing his friends
Delighting in the power that having such clout,
A significant future portends.
Who builds the structure that feeds the desire
To hurt to maim and to slay.
Who supplies the fuel for the dormant fire,
Then bows down on his knees to pray.
Are we born from the promise of a very good liar,
Or from a seed designed to decay.

What of our love? Is it love naturally felt;
Is it a chemically calculated strain,
Or is it an emotion controlled as to melt,
Our desire to inflict on others some pain?
From whence cometh hate, is it a free choice,
Or is it induced by suggestion and threat,
Some people are sad while others rejoice,
When war’s goals are tragically met.
So many questions that nobody asks,
So much private and unwilling thought,
So much reluctance to carry our tasks,
That don’t conform to the way we were taught.
Yet proudly we stand in our pitiful masks,
Blaming others for the reasons we fought.

Oh yes we ask why, but we ask not ourselves,
Afraid of the answers that we may give,
It is easier to leave the dust on the shelves,
And blame others for the lives that we live.
The ruler he rules and the servant he serves,
And still, we believe we are free,
But I guess every man gets what he deserves,
Though what he deserves he fails to see.
So let us find comfort in praising the Lord,
Who watches our plight in disgust,
For even in prayer we lean on the sword,
For each other we still cannot trust.
As we hang by the neck from the umbilical cord,
And wither away to dust.