Recruits

Had they any sense of history they might hesitate
before putting on the uniform, remembering
the fate of the previous generation that had put on
that same uniform with the same pride and idealism,
and sent abroad to do good only to be shot up,
maimed, and betrayed, learning to their sorrow
that they were doing no good, (when does an army
ever do any good?) that they were doing harm,
creating chaos and destruction, tilling the land
forĀ  vermin, draining their souls of decency,
turning their dreams into nightmares, besmirching
the honor of their flag, but they have no sense
of history, how can they when their heads are filled
with empty music, the latest fads, sexual desires,
images of glory, their education a long shuffling
from one boring room to the next, and if they had
studied any history, it was a history devoid
of content, written in the passive voice, designed
by committees, overseen by politicians, determined
that the youth not question their elders, pablum to
pacify restless minds, perfect material to be sent
off in search of adventure
         useful tools
in games designed
        by their betters.

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Copyright 2017© by Peter D. Goodwin