2010 Poetry Challenge

National Poetry Month

Peter Willowdown

Toy Soldiers

Toy soldiers
bang-bang, you're dead,
blood is sticky, hot and red.
Kidnapped in the dead of night,
given a gun and sent to fight,
fight for freedom and liberty
and men you have never seen,
daily scenes of murder and rape
are only silenced by more murder and rape
until atrocity becomes the norm.
No way back to innocence or childhood
for toy soldiers
used to clear mine-fields,
sent against cannon and tanks,
more expendable than machines or dogs.
Joking over cigarettes and cheap whisky
unable and unwilling to think
toy soldiers
in bare feet and rags
sent to fight with guns or just sticks,
conscience seared in red-hot flame,
no past, no future,
no hope, no name,
just a brief match-flare of cameraderie
before we enter the killing fields,
another shot of liquor
to toast the brothers who wont come back...
toy soldiers
bang-bang, you're dead,
shrapnel in your heart and soul,
cold metal bullet in your head.

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