ethel’s words

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VETERANS OF FORGOTTEN WARS

Veterans of Forgotten Wars
are nameless;
their faces grace no history books;
no granite yields a hint
of hidden graves
under the drift of centuries.

If sheepskins, parchments, and papyrus,
stretched together
could bridge the Earth and moon
there would not be enough,
no not enough
to write the names of veterans
not remembered

whose blood is dust

that falls through rips
in history’s pages.
Few names are known to us
even from
historical antiquity.

There is no record
that we know
of billions
of crushed faces,
maimed and shattered bodies;
fallen before the gods, the kings,
the lies, of war.
No cries of agony
drifting through the cosmos
come to our ears.

Veterans of forgotten wars, come back.
March over the proud-held heads
of kings and queens;
fear not to curse them.
Shout to the hubris-ridden presidents,
“We’ll study war no more!”
Raise twenty billion ghostly fists
and shout
“No more! No more!”

Ethel C. Hale  ©  2002