Canons blast and gun shots ring
They say it's a skirmish, but it's a war
Like tender leaves, to life men cling
Others kill themselves - they can't bear anymore.

On a not so distant hill, an old house stands
Where a woman looks from her window
She sighs as she watches men destroy her lands
Where her apple orchard sways below

Now the trees are riddled with bullets
And the apples are all gone
They've gone down the soldiers' gullets
Who are fighting on her lawn

She mourns for her poor apple trees
But even more than her orchard
She mourns for the men she can't see
Boys dying bloody and tortured

Amid men's moans screams and sighs
Amid the cries for mercy
A battered war-torn soldier lies
His country's freedom fee

He can no longer unsheathe his sword
He can no longer move his feet
This man who has seen many a war
Has now finally felt defeat

He's seen his friends fall to the ground
He's heard the bitter laughter
He's seen men rise - their courage found
He's heard them crying after

In the time while he closes his eyes
Surrendering to the wounds, the pain
He ponders upon his life in despise
He remembers the faces of those he's slain

But he also remembers things long forgotten
Things from his short childhood
The sun in his eyes, the feel of fresh cotton
The smell of the sea, and running in the wood

He misses his mother and father and child
He misses his wife and his home
No matter what he wishes, the battle stays wild
This man is doomed to die alone

Tears quickly gather and trace tracks down his cheeks
Why did the glory of battle entice him?
Right from his chest, a heavy sob sneaks
Just as his vision begins to dim

As he slips closer to his death
He remembers he promised to come home
With all the strength he has left
He lifts himself with a groan

He stares around, his eyes wide
Taking in the destruction through the haze
Gunshots still flying through men's hides
His tired eyes in anger blaze

How could brother slaughter brother?
How could the survivors live
with themselves after they'd killed another
human being? Playing God - take or give

The he looks at himself in disgust
Noticing men's filth on his clothes
He is no better in human bloodlust
He deserves to die with the droves

Struggling with the weight he bears
The blood a medal of shame on his chest
List'nin to the cries - why does no one care?
Starting to laugh without any jest

Lunacy seems the right option
In this mad world without a lord
Running between bullets without caution
Being sent to the sterile medical ward

Everything there is clean and precise
Stitches form rows in men's guts
So unlike those butchers, their hearts as cold as ice
"Unleash the dogs of war"? Ha! They're mutts!

Bitterness spreads like a rampaging virus
It infects every limb in his body
Indifference crushes his will, making paper from papyrus
Seeing men strutting with pride, wearing badges to gaudy

Why can't war just stop all together?
Why won't all the fighting cease?
Why do we think shooting men will make things better?

What happened to our peace?

A/N: A line I think might confuse: "...making paper from papyrus".
Basically squishing him flat, crushing out his will, etc. like making paper
from rounded reeds.

btw, this is my second "mini-epic" poem. If you enjoyed this, you might
also enjoy -shameless advertising!- my "The Old World" poem.