Lunch today with my veterans, sharing soup and sacred stories. Some call it camaraderie; we’ve taken the vow and done our duty to the land of our birth. The years have treated us kindly, but we know that many have not been as blessed. So we began by praying for those who struggle still with a past that grips them in its siren song.
“Think like a prophet, serve like a priest, plan like a king.”
Wayward warrior, far from comrades,
Battered, beaten, calloused, weary,
Comes upon a hermit sitting
By earthen hut,
With mule beside him.
“True child of Nature,”
The soldier thought,
Simple life that welcomed all.
Man of war received as kinfolk
High upon the alpine meadow.
Combat raging far below
As armies clashed in hellish conflict,
Hatred boiling, devils’ cauldron,
Darker than the coals of Hades.
Old man pointed to the tumult,
Could not share the tongue of warrior,
Only gestures of confusion,
Silent protest of the thunder.
Dawning on the soul of Warrior,
“Recluse here on highest mountain
Has no sense of worldwide horror
Brought by those who hold the mantle
Of power ruined and kingdoms broken.”
Hero spoke to inner chambers
Of heart perturbed by senseless slaughter,
“Had sage and I the mother tongue
To speak and hear in one accord,
Neither could with greatest effort
Understand the cause of carnage
Down below in bloody valley.”
And so it is, the “Why” of war
Remains a mystery for all ages,
As questions asked of kings and statesmen
Stay unanswered to the end.