The Old Soldier

...

I knew of a time when my station of life,

Was determined at birth,

When being the son of a man and his wife,

Was found to be of dearth.


I lived in a time when my worth as a man,

Was known by the tongue spoken in,

When competition and fell tradition,

Were greater than bonds of kin.


I knew a time when to stand tall with pride,

Was my dearest ambition,

And to join the march to battle our foes,

Was but a split second decision.


I remember a time, when the end of my life,

Was a bullet hole away,

When burning fields and battlefields,

I saw from day to day.


I lived through a time, when my hurting feet,

Were the things that hurt the least,

When my friends and my compatriots,

Were dying like autumn leaves.


I remember the glee, the savagery,

Of fighting man on man,

Of winning the fight, marching with pride,

Along the wounded glades.


As thousands went in, hundreds came out,

Hundreds lay dead or dying,

As we won the right to stand with pride,

And paid the bloody price.


By now my time has come and gone,

And young men fill our ranks,

Watching for hidden flames of war,

To go douse them again.


In their young arms I leave my dreams,

As I march on my last campaign,

And hope they fight for the good and true,

And never let their vigil fail.