The marble is darkened, but the names are clear;
Listen to the whispers and you’ll feel the fear.
It is quiet now; they’ve all gone to rest;
There may be some brighter, but these are the best.
Suddenly there’s life; there’s movement again;
No smiles, no laughter, only quiet men.
When you look at the names, you see your face;
And the words disappear without even a trace.
The black voices reach for you, but you turn away.
You’re here, you’re now, but where are they?
“Tell me why” here; “Tell me how” there;
The confusion of silence fills the air.
As we move by with reverence, and a tear in our eye;
We wonder aloud why these had to die.
Now they are quiet, not a sound do you hear;
Just unknown names on a marble veneer.
Their skin isn’t wrinkled, and their hair’s never gray;
But they show their age in a much different way.
Although we don’t know them, they belong to us all;
Every last name carved on the wall.
When you’re too old to fight, and you no longer ask “why”;
You just rattle your saber, and send the young off to die.
We said we sent them because of our love for the flag;
That love seemed elusive when they zipped up the bag.
We did it once, but don’t do it again;
Don’t tarnish the deeds of these brave young men.
Don’t tell them they'll die for a noble cause;
Tell them the truth, and let them give pause.
Listen to the whispers; hear the pain;
Don’t give up your sons for a foolhardy gain.
And if you are tempted to pull out your sword;
Remember these men and their empty reward.
Memorial Day, 2000