A Soldier's Death Is Not Pretty -Memorial Day Prayer

Poem By Lewis Eron

A soldier's death is not pretty -
Gassed green-gray in a trench;
Ripped, torn, crushed, cut
By machine guns hidden in hedgerows,
By bombs or shells or mines;
Bleeding out in the sand;
The dirt
The grass.

Punctured by a lead ball round as a marble
On a field
Better used for farming
Or baseball;

Shattered by a device in the road
In a postcard village,
With mountains behind,
Gray, green, blue and white,
Now red;

Embraced by the North Atlantic waters;

Fire reaching from an infected leg to the heart and mind
Lost first in delirium, then in death;

Overcome by demons unable to be suppressed
Locked in a wounded body and trapped in a wounded brain;
A soldier's death is not pretty.

So look beyond the statues - generals on horses
Once gold
Now green
Giving commands to pigeons

Look beyond the paintings - great murals
Of great battles
Of waves of men rising and crashing and retreating
Of flags and banners
Of bugles and drums
Of sunbeams cast on the commander's heroic death.

Instead, remember the boys, the men, the women, the girls
Always young, always strong,
Sometimes brave, often scared
Dreaming of life and home
And always dead

Remember their dreams, their hopes, their prayers
Remember their families, their comrades, their friends
Remember to listen, to see, to sense:

Their deaths,
Their lives,
Their gifts
And give honor
And give love
And give thanks

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