Do Not Forget Our Fathers - A Poem
shrugged casually like
all the other smooth young men
yawned their way to war and
died in snow and mud witnessed
by frozen blank-eyed horses used
to haul their bone racks to
field hospitals for
After a long time the generals
had had enough,
cellared their fine wines and women
and told the young men to go home.
Prime Ministers and Presidents and Chancellors
said they were sorry for the inconvenience, but
no one said
Thank You, since there was no Audience
and important men hate
words to ring in empty rooms.
This man went home as casually as he left
the town gave him a parade with balloons and a band
and cheerleaders and speeches and sally wilson did him
behind the gymnasium
under a huge orange harvest moon.
All he remembered was the balloons.
He tried to understand, tried to grasp
why he’d gone away. They told him it was
and honour but
all he felt was
the blood-bite of razor wire,
the dulling weight
of his own skin,
the swirl of metallic blood
in his mouth.
This man went away a casual boy
came back a broken casual toy
in a man’s body, dreaming about parades
and speeches and balloons.
mostly about balloons
magic and laughter
rippling like slow-dragged silk across the
shattered fields and broken hopes
on the couch in the
© clark cook