oh brothers in arms, you battle-dead, i bid you rise!
young boys with bullets in the head between the eyes,
or blown to bits, some never to be found,
or bloated bodies we can’t even recognize–
return to set things right, you gory host!
for heroes haunt a hidden underworld, dead men’s domain,
their youth the sacrificial lamb on warfare’s altar slain.
of thousands who’ve fought for freedom in our name,
how many men have we sent forth to fall in vain?
lest we forget the stakes of this great game,
our murd’rous glory is no shining medal,
but a bloody stain
on all our hands.
oh wasted youth, you warrior-dead, arise!
break free from fallow fields in far-off lands
and bring down the banners you once battled behind,
and tear these tattered flags to shreds, and lay our swords to rest,
and hush the tune to which you once marched, and find
hawkish old men who would send boys to hideous deaths
as mere means to selfish ends–find them,
and point a bony finger
at their bloody hands.