War Poem
A Soldier's Perspective

The following war poem spans the time period from early civilization to 1984, the year this poem was composed.

As a World War II Navy Veteran, I have both fought and observed the causes and effects of war. This war poem was written 30 years ago. Yet, you may be surprised to see striking similarities between events discussed here and current or recent conflicts between countries in the world.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
I humbly offer my reflections here.


War and History
by William W. Figley

Since time began
Man's found a way
To make his neighbor-man
A prey.

We read in song
Those knights of old,
We wonder now
Why men were bold!

O, grab the sword
And ride away - -
You may come back
Another day,

Or you may fall - -
That awful sound
When horse and armor
Meet the ground!

'Twas honor then
The ballads say - -
But what is man's
Excuse today?

Which side is wrong?
Who's in the right?
Don't stop and think
Before you fight.

Country's honor
Is at stake--
Leaves the dead men
In its wake!

Sometimes there's no
good or bad.
The price of pride
Is sick and sad.

A brave new world
Across the way--
Countries struggle
In the sway!

There's Englishmen
And Frenchmen too,
And Spaniards comin'
Into view--

A country's born--
We're free at last!
The foreign danger
Now is past,

Go West, young man!
You hear the cry;
But some of you
Are gonna' die.

The arrows wing--
The six-guns roar;
An Indian at a
White man's door--

The days grow hot,
The nights are cold--
Are we really cut
From a warrior's mold?

Wagons roaring
Down the hill--
Injuns comin'
Closer still!

Families broken,
Peace be still--
Tough to keep your faith
And kill!

We pushed the red man
To the wall!
But were we really
Walkin' tall?

Life is wild--
Settlers come.
That is how
The West was won.

Then we had a time
Of peace
For a few more years
At least.

Slaves and masters--
Way of life
Brought us to
Another strife.

Uniforms of
Blue and Gray
Can we forget
That awful day?

Brother fought
And cousins too;
Lincoln brought us
Crippling thru;

Then he died--
The slave was free;
But there was little
Harmony.

Behind the scenes
For many a year,
Selfish rulers
Plan and sneer!

Wars and fighting
Are a sin.
Great conflicts
From the small begin.

There's selfishness
And national pride--
There's greed and hate
And men who lied.

'Twas yesterday
The Kaiser yelled--
And thousands of his men
Were felled!

Our doughboys
In the trenches fought;
And "Kaiser Bill"
Was brought to naught!

Then Hitler peaked
His ugly head,
He scorned the French
And knocked them dead.

The little British Isle
Held fast
And U.S. help
Arrived at last!

The Japs had plans--
They didn't feel
The U.S.A. could fight
For real.

We almost lost!
That early fight--
Left us reeling
In our flight!

We dropped the bomb!
They had enough!
Nuclear power
Is heavy stuff!

Argue what we
Should have done--
It saved our men
From the "Rising Sun".

Oh, we must keep
The faith, we cry!
And boost our allies
To the sky!

One country gains
Who barely fought!
This move will haunt us--
And it ought!

What treachery!
Can this be true?
All Germany's
Been carved in two!

It's one thing
Just to win the game;
But lose the peace?
We stand in shame!

World War II
Already past;
Ya' think this peace
Is gonna' last?

No! Greedy Commies
Grab the land!
We stop them
With our heavy hand!

Just when we think
The battle's won--
They call "Mac" home;
We've just begun

To pussy-foot
Instead of win;
And vanquished foes
Are now a sin!

Oh, yes! We let them
Get away----
To kill our boys
Another day!

And then there's 'Nam
So undeclared!
We hate our boys
Ignore our dead--

Commit so many
Not to win;
Our hands are tied
By leaders' whim.

What right have they
To call the turn?
If not to win--
Just fight and burn!

Our country's suffered
From that war--
Broken spirits,
Drugs, and more;

I wonder why
We think they died?
If not for honor,
Duty, pride?

There's just no way
If we know the score,
For us not to win
When in a war!

The Bear's a threat!
His greedy paws!
World's asleep
Within his jaws!

World's a mess--
Commies gain--
Only got ourselves
To blame.

Care not how
They grab the land.
Can't we see
Their heavy hand?

Ideas clash--
Words are hot!
Choice 'a bein'
Slaves or not!

Must we now
Patrol the world?
Commies there
With hate unfurled;

Some would run
Or just ignore;
Just so we stay
Within our shore.

If only we'd
Aggressors met----
Liberals are gonna'
Kill us yet!

I say their attitude
Is sin!
Who meekly say
We must not win!

Russian minions
Spread their dirt!
All South America's
Bein' hurt.

Castro's feelin'
Mighty strong
Until Grenada
Comes along.

"Hate America"
Is the cry;
Despise the Jew
And make him die!

If not the Arabs
Or the Jews,
Terrorists make
The headline news--

What's our role
For future then?
Will it be
The sword or pen?

O, God, forgive
This horror--WAR
And grant us all
A peaceful shore!

The Bible says
The battle sway
Will last till Jesus
Rules the day!

We may think it
O, so strange---
But there'll be war
Till men's hearts are changed.



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