Kevin M. Welsh

A SOLDIER’S BURIAL

When I die… give me a soldier’s burial.
Not one for vainglory, not one for show…
But one of reserve and dignity… in the company of those who know
Justice, fairness, truth and honour…
Kindness, compassion, and gentleness with each other…
Comradeship, loyalty and kindred spirit immemorial.

And with us there will be laughter… and joy unfurled
For intimate things… and for precious moments we have shared
Together in friendship. And yet… I ask that we be spared
The wrath of disquiet, hatred and profanity…
From acts that defile and degrade humanity…
And from all that is bad unto the world.

For I have loved my fellow men… and sought love in return.
Abandon me not, but tarry with me awhile.
We shall reflect on those things which made us smile…
And of one another be of good counsel and glad of heart…
Until, at last… that time has come for us to part…
And I await that glorious day when we will meet again.

But… if I have not any of these good things… (I sigh)…
Then grant me, at least, the grace in peace to lie
In perpetuity… under the ethereal canopy of our nation’s sky.