But you’re another, and war I’ve no hope but not to wield.

The warrior often wanders
A one-sided war,
For he’s only informally acquainted with peace,
As it’s a leisure-lease he can’t afford
With so many scars.
His gnashing torment tars the walls
And thickens the barrier-bars,
Keeps the berm beam-up and shoulder-shored.
Reach him?
Reach him with song, with the sharing of shame,
With humility and admitted wrong;
Ponder his pain and pace his ravaged realty,
Walk the path you’ve unwittingly paved
For his ready-hearted and shovel-sworded infantry.
Look long—
Lengthen your idiot’s idea of love—
Along his torch-lit, tent-picketed horizon line,
The meadows you scraped with feckless fire
And wished to ash from behind the hidden pine
He planted and once admired
With a soft smile and warmth of shine.
The soldier secrets his wages,
He suspects the pages pen how he’s been paid them,
How he’s had to learn best to lay them
On the bartering table.
Wasteful in youth, raw and uncouth,
He’s taken a deep arrow for each mistake.
He’s had to make an able-rake of restless grey
For the sake of what soil you took and take,
Too suddenly, to too-showingly slake
Your risk-managed lust.
But trust it,
Oh, wholeheartedly thrust it forward
And set sentry
To guard each ungarrisoned entry upon your claim;
For his eye is open and patient and looking high—
There will be no battle cry nor stallion to tame,
No still frame skewed enough,
No first-light bright enough
To blind his right-enough aim.
Peace is ever-too-exceedingly hard to come by—
It’s mostly, these days, a lullaby for babes.
It’s rare to broken hearts or cages
Or those who quietly cry for what ideology was slain
Before their very eyes—pain rages on.
But peace earns the weary man’s try,
Could give, perhaps, the bayonet an alibi.
Gather the straw then,
Come from up-under,
Darn the asunder and give a match for flame—
Not to scorch his fields, but to catch
The wind on your campfire-kindle.
As fighters rest, you’re dared to bake;
And no sugar-cursed cake for the bitter tongue,
But, savor-seeking, make a simple bread.
The smell may awaken a starving friend—
But on the hope of peace,
If your life’s to be worth
The dearth-of-what-honorable you’ve done,
You might break that bread with a brother.

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