Wednesday, April 3, 2013

God Save Us From the Great Men

By Tom King

They lay in the muck on Flanders field.
Lord Kitchener had said,
“Your country needs you!”
To stand and face the machine guns

They charged the guns at Breed’s Hill
General Gage had said the rebels would run
When faced with “real” troops.
They were mere farmers and woodsmen after all.

They charged up the Valley of Death
The Light Brigade, all 600 horse
Lord Cardigan at their head,
Because someone gave the wrong order.

They slept in their camps at San Jacinto
For Presidente’ Antonio de Padua María Severino
López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón, the Napoleon of the West
Said the Texans were cowards.

They crossed that horrific field at Gettysburg
Because General Robert E. Lee
Told them they could not lose.
And they believed.

They sailed boldly up the English Channel
King Philip called them  
The greatest armada in history.
Even God could not defeat them.

They rode in columns down upon the British lines
Napoleon told them they were invincible.
That they would drive Wellington from the field
Before the Prussians came.

They lay in pitiful charred heaps along the streets
And in the parks and battered buildings at Hiroshima
The Emperor had said they were a Divine Wind
That would sweep the barbarians before them.

They picked among the ruins at Dresden
Looking for keepsakes and lost children
Der Fuehrer had said the Reich
Would last a thousand years.

They slogged through the jungles at Dak-To
The orders came from the Oval Office
Johnson said the dominoes would fall
If they did not stand and fight.

They staggered toward their enemies
And surrendered to helicopters
Saddam had told them it would be
The Mother of All Battles

We fling ourselves upon battlements
And die by thousands in the dirt
At the word of the Earth’s Great Men
May God deliver us from them.

(c) April 3, 2013, Carriage House, Puyallup, WA

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