Old men defiantly deliberate.
Young men proudly participate.
Mothers can only anticipate.

The government says, “Our national pride
demands redress; our security’s imperiled.”
The young men say, “Those bastards better run and hide.
We will kick their butts, return home as heroes heralded.”
Their mothers say, “Pray for peace to prevail some way.
My son is just a boy…Tragedy! War was declared today.”

The government says, “This war could last for years.
Things are not progressing according to our initial plan.”
The young men, “War is boredom, bloodshed, chaos, fears.
There is little glory, while its horrors change every man.”
Their mothers say, “My days are filled with worry, concern
for my son’s safety. To hug him once again, my arms yearn.”

The government says, “The war is finally over at long last –
a victory, ‘though not as complete as once we had wished.”
The young men wonder, “How did it ever come to pass?
So many of our generation dead! What was accomplished?”
Too many mothers, “Where my heart once was is empty space.
He was but a boy. Try to convince me his death wasn’t a waste.”

Harry Edward Gilleland      04.09.04