Voices from The Dead
Quietly we lie, scattered across the land
separated from our comrades in battle,
returned home in a pre-paid coffin
draped by an American flag,
and put to rest in a hometown plot.
We are the dead.
They told us that we would be heroes
fighting for a noble cause.
Save our country, save their country,
they'd welcome us with open arms.
But no flowers, only bullets
greeted us when we arrived.
And now, we are the dead.
We may be silent, voices muted,
yet we speak to hearts and minds.
Our noble cause, we know was terror
for us and for those in that far-away land.
The ramparts we watched were not ours to defend
And the flag that we placed was a thorn in their eyes.
No, this was no act of valour or glory
We were misled, deceived by our own
Too late we learned.
We are the dead.
A thousand voices like a choir are rising,
voices from our separate graves.
Who knows how many more will join us
blown to pieces, by bombs and grenades?
Do you hear us? People? Leaders?
Bring an end to this murderous act.
So others may live, be useful and creative
For we, we are already dead.
We were Americans, just like you
African, Mexican, Indian, white Americans
Citizens from many walks of life,
except for those from wealthy stock
who yearned for war, but did not flock
Their fight be fought by others instead,
So they go on living,
while we are dead.
Must war be always a part of men
to satisfy their greed and corruption?
To take what doesn't belongs to them
So they may live in wealthy indulgence?
There is, we know, a better way
One that meets peoples needs and desires.
Let's battle disease and hunger instead,
for that'll save lives, not destroy them.
We speak from our graves to you who still live
To better the world while you can.
Life is too short, we know it full well
For we, as you know, are the dead.
W. Vic Ratsma was a lifelong political activist from Nova Scotia, CA and member of the communist party who wrote poetry and essays as a columnist for Axis of Logic until his death in Nova Scotia on November 17, 2004. He wrote this poem after a long and courageous battle with cancer and a few weeks before his death. See our tribute to him published on the day of his death and our "Celebration of Life" in his memory, published on December 3, 2004.
© Copyright 2009 by AxisofLogic.com
This material is available for republication as long as reprints include verbatim copy of the article in its entirety, respecting its integrity. Reprints must cite the author and Axis of Logic as the original source including a "live link" to the article. Thank you!