Poppy

Uniform Memory


When I was young,
I wore a uniform
Not a soldier proud
Going off to war
For King
For Country
Probably for
Adventure
To get off of the Farm
Or out of the Factory Plant
Or Dark Coal Mine.

But before it was over
Seeing friends new
Friends old
Strangers once
Become Brothers
Blown to bits
Shot to meat
Once vital
Now dead.

When I was young,
The uniform I wore
Was not of a soldier
For I was lucky
Luckier than most
For my years of youth
Mine were spent in peace
Peace perhaps relative
Peace perhaps born
On the shoulders of others.

But others
They paid horrible price
Perhaps
Not even truly knowing why
Just knowing it was needed
Not asking why
Just doing
Just dying
Just or unjust.

When I was young,
Yes, I was only a Cub
But somehow I could feel
Somehow I felt a connection
Somehow I could feel the loss
The loss of the missing
Perhaps the loss of others
Of others' fathers
Of others' grandfathers
Husbands, brothers, sons

But though not directly touched
Somehow I knew
Somehow I felt
Pride
Pain
Love
A minute of silence
That echoed in my heart
As strongly as if
The war was only yesterday
Not decades before

Now they are young,
Fresh faces wondering
At the few old wrinkled faces
The berets
The ribbons
The medals
The statues
The wreathes
The poppies
A tear
A moment of silence
One.one,  one.one,  one.one

But do they connect
Do they feel the loss
Does it make sense
Do they remember
Do they find it only
One more oddly named
Long weekend
In the so long school year
Is it  so sad

Now is it so sad
That these young
Are not so close
To the wars once remembered
Are these not those
That were fought for
That truly they would not
Need to know war  as the others before?

But it is sad.
For war has not left
More children must learn
More people must leave
Family
Friends
Freedom
To fight
For freedom
For feuds
For feudalism
For fuel

Now as it was it is in the end
They fight in the end
They fight for their life
They fight and see a friend
Blown up
Shot up
Burned up
Burned out
They fight bravely and for cause
They fight without question
For that the brave sometimes must do
They do it for themselves
But they also do it for you.

But it is sad
Another generation must morn
Lost soldiers
Not just Father,
Grandfather
Brother, Son
Uncle
But now also Mother
Grandmother
Sister, Daughter
Aunt, and Friend
Though truth be told
It has always been so
Just not always so much
In uniform

One day perhaps
It will only be
War remembered in memory
Fading, but not forgotten
Perhaps a scar but not a wound
And the children
Might wonder,

At the few old wrinkled faces
The berets
The ribbons
The medals
The statues
The wreathes
The poppies
A tear
A moment of silence
One.one,  one.one,  one.one

Darrell Wade Penner November 4th 2003