Old soldiers stumbling on with bandaged eyes,
fatigued, forlorn, each to the former bound;
so have our years spilled forth in dumb surprise,
like walking wounded from a battleground.
Little remains to grace or dignify
these misused troops of time, our anguished days,
save proud rhetoric urging do or die
to hopeful youth lost in the martial maze.
What did we win? A brassy marching song,
new battle plans, and trenches to defend,
brief truces, sometimes friendly fire gone wrong.
amputated limbs. War’s usual end.
One pleads for alms. The other checks a yawn.
Thin-lipped, we watch the days go trudging on.