A Happy Soldier

I met a happy soldier once

He was grinning from ear to ear

“What makes you so merry?” I asked

“Your story I’d like to hear!”

“Why should I not be happy my friend?”

He said in a bubbly voice

“I have no regrets and I have no qualms

And I have no freedom to make a choice”

“I don’t follow your words my man

How can no choice make one so glad?

Do you not fight for that very freedom?

How can freedom of choice make anyone sad?”

He laughed and laughed and held his belly

And wiped a tear from the side of his eye

“It is choice alone that brings remorse

And keeps us unhappy until we die.

I simply take orders and I simply follow them

I bear no burden of life and death

While the choice makers walk with heavy shoulders

And thoughts of consequence with every breath.”

“But do you not feel the pain and guilt

When you pull the trigger on another soul?

Are you not disturbed by images and thoughts

Of breaking apart families that were once whole?”

He laughed a little more and smiled with his eyes

Clearly something amused him I could not see

“Do you think my enemy is feeling the same

When he is pulling the trigger on me?

I don’t choose my foes my dear friend

That choice is not mine to make

The only choice I make is to stay alive

And I simply kill for its sake.

You cannot put the blame on me

For the widows and orphans I end up making

Go speak to the ones you elect to rule

If you think that war is not worth undertaking.

The pain and cries and the despair I cause

Is not the result of my choice

The blasts and bursts and booms you hear

Are the sounds echoed by your elected voice.

I do not despair when you look at me

With your accusing scornful spiteful eyes

Nor do I rejoice when you cheer and glorify

My victory over dead husbands and wives.”

The smile disappeared and the laughter ceased

A somber face now was all I could see

Guilt and regret and grief took over

And tears started welling up inside of me.

I saw dead faces stare back at me

Cries of anguish was all I could hear

I met a happy soldier once

He was grinning from ear to ear.

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