The great wrong, our original sin,
the wound that discolors our freedom claimed—
we will pay now with the stony gaze
of men who blankly stare at the sky above
all to wield the axe that slices the fetters,
the bonds and shackles that hold a million men
unable to collect the reward for their long labor
in fields far from their continent without cold.
Alas, the dead we will tally, with numbers
far greater than those spouted by the glory seekers.
And how our hearts will tremble
when some once quiet town’s name is uttered,
where the trenches dug demand long rows of supine men
whose names remain unmarked on any wood or stone.
Oh, how I fear the widows’ tears; how they may flood
the land now hardened with patriotic fervor.
copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney