The soldiers are off to war
in clean and pressed uniforms and shined boots.
They hug, kiss, smile and say: Don’t worry!

I look at the soldiers and see youth, valor, confidence,
belief that the cause is just, their leaders wise.

I see the soldiers reading letters, longing to be back home,
kissing their sweethearts, eating at the kitchen table,
mowing the lawn.

I see bitterness, disillusionment, fear, burned out homes, hunger,
disease, plunder, rape.

I see wounds, hospitals, artificial limbs, living as if dead.

I see orphaned children, women without husbands,
old people without grandchildren.

I see politicians meeting in wood-paneled rooms talking, arguing,
pretending, misinforming, getting rich.

I see uneasy peace, another war.