American Soldiers die on;
you who for the common good go on dying
for the whole world, like Christ on the cross.
And you get your own bleached-bone crosses,
you boys and girls, who, armed,
seldom are unharmed in the crossing
from Hell to home.
Alone you came into this world,
alone you go. Baghdad, Fallujah,
a surge of dead burkas
washing up on yellow, sandy city shores:
they sang to some of you--
the burkas, the tunics, the animals.
Back home they made it a circus,
the whole war, and the sands of Iwo Jima
these weren't: these sands not Normandy,
not Omaha: the Nazis few and far
between instead of thick and thicker
on the dunes. Here every shepherd's flock
is a terrorist; Christ, Christ, Christ.
The sands of Japan suffered, too,
die on. You listen because you must listen,
ordered by Barnham and sons and
even his rivals, the lesser evils
too old to shoot a rifle.