Memorials

Every day the world

takes a turn

for the better.

Cannon business booming,

rearmament going great guns.

 

Peel skin

from a banana republic,

you get a rot spot,

so soft and velvety,

a copy could break his back

slipping on his big stick.

 

It could be worse. One hand

washes blood from another,

and nobody counts the cost

of a few lost fingers.

 

Brass out in full regalia.

Shaking armless sleeves

of amoutees, as the army band

blusters by, Reviewed troops,

grandstand gestures, speeches

to statues, while statistics

stand at attention saluting

sacrifices the dead made

to pay for the rest

of the country's peaceful sleep.

 

Bugles blow retreat. All pledge

allegiance to the eagle

flapping his wings in a flag.

Sons of unknown soldiers

rise from anonymous mounds,

march up aisles of concrete

crosses, call names that number

in the millions, sobbing for

those who stuck to their guns,

and never said die, but did.

 

Arthur Gottlieb