Valour is mute
So if war comes
It will not be the sound of honour,
Of sturdy men in sturdy boots,
That you will hear.
It will not be the blowing of trumpets
Or proclamations of victory
For the sound of news anchors and explosions
And false promises made by your politicians
Would have long deafened your ears.
What you will hear,
Will be a ballad of bawling babies
Broken, Ailing, Hungry,
And when they’ll look at you with their innocent eyes
And ask you if you know where their parents went
Will you tell them that they died
fighting a war for the country?
And when they’ll ask you what is country
Will you show them the land
Rendered battered and barren by the acts of men
Will you show them sickness and smoke
The absolute dearth of hope
An economy so broke
A sea of orphans, no home?
When they ask you what is country
And what their parents died fighting for
Will you even be able to tell yourself
What it really is,
And who is not losing the war?
Mekhala Saran is a student of law and freelance journalist. She holds a Bachelors in English Literature from Ramjas College, University of Delhi, India. She is also a theatre artist and poet. Find her on Twitter at @mekhala_saran.
Featured image: “The Napalm Girl” | South Vietnamese forces follow after terrified children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc (centre), as they run down Route 1 near Trang Bang after an aerial napalm attack on suspected Viet Cong hiding places, June 8, 1972 | AP Photo by Nick Ut | Flickr