Anthony W. Pahl


Have you ever seen a tree just before the fall;
as green and lush as memories of times before the war?
But just a short time later, red and orange fire the scene;
it seems those trees will never be lush and green again.

And saplings struggle bravely to survive out in the cold
with no sun to warm their hearts under drifts of killing snow
And still they struggle feebly, roots clinging to the soil,
to hold on with one heart-beat; death’s dark beckoning to foil.

The toll is only counted when the sun begins to shine;
when all is safe and warm and the cold is far behind.
And those who do the counting are amazed at what they find;
species changed their foliage – became a completely different kind.

I am that lonely tree, and the sapling could be you
We did what nature taught us, we fought and died for truth
We were planted in an alien place, far from the chosen soil
And underneath a foreign sun as killers madly toiled.

The greenness of our youth was changed by red and orange fire.
The blackness of our souls found the way in to the mire.
No more the pure white innocence of laughter or of joy.
Now these burnt and fragile people are no longer boys.

Changed by the fires of war and freezing chill at home
Not even our friends or family could see what we’d become
But we can never ever blame them for what they did not see;
Because we didn’t know ourselves, what we had come to be!

And time secretes the memories into dim and darkened vaults
never to see the light of day, so we can charge no fault.
When we test the living water but see no warmth or light
we shut the vaults back up again to ensure that we survive.

We do write and tell our stories, but from a very different place;
a cold and hardened structure with no personal interface
but every now and then, the truth creeps quietly in
and allows us time to cry at this, humanity’s greatest sin!