Since I am in the middle of a couple of projects and not really able to blog them yet, I thought it was time for something a little different.
I grew up in the 80s, when the Cold War was in full force and threat of nuclear war was constantly waved over our heads, much like the threat of terrorism is now. From a very young age, I understood that war was wrong, and I really couldn’t grasp the concept of a “just” or “necessary” war. I still can’t.
I wrote the following poem when I was a kid, right about the age I was in this picture (13):
One boy in a crowd of soldiers
Making his dream come true
Fighting for his country;
The glorious red, white, and blue.
He points his gun and fires,
Killing another man.
He proudly turns to his comrade,
But he doesn’t understand.
One man in a crowd of soldiers,
Family and friends left behind.
A wife and a little baby–
Will he make it out alive?
Tears of bitter sorrow
As he watches another fall
All this fighting and killing
Oh, how he despises it all!
One child looks at a picture
Of a father he’ll never know.
This faded memory is all that’s left
Of a life finished long ago.
Pictures tell a lot of things,
But they can’t say “I love you.”
War is a bitter game to play;
There’s nothing quite so cruel.
Will we ever find an answer
Without going through this pain?
A war brings only sorrow–
There’s nothing at all to be gained.
One dark day we’ll realize
But by then it’ll be too late.
War can never solve problems
Of anger and of hate.
And above all, stands the victor,
Proud, and brave, and tall.
But what have we really conquered?
The winner takes nothing at all.
–Holly Ann O’Neill
The original poem had a few of extra stanzas but I’ve since taken them out because they refer to God. It’s not that I object to them as part of the poem necessarily, it’s just that they don’t jive with my beliefs now. Here they are, if you’re interested:
One man sets his gun down,
Another stops a grenade.
The other men stop fighting;
They all join hands to pray:
“God in Heaven, hear our cry–
Let this fighting cease.
Let love and joy fill all the world,
Let all men live in peace.”
To be sure, this poem is simplistic and represents a child’s view of war. However, I still believe the fundamental message to be true–now more than ever.