Are You Happy?

War. Soldiers fight, killing the enemy and seeing their comrades fall. I wrote this villanelle with more of a focus on World War I and II, but is still relevant for the likes of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Nothing but ribbons and metal,
Is that really all it was worth?
Are you happy with your goddam medal?

What are you left with as you grow old?
Staring forlornly at the flames in the hearth.
Nothing but ribbons and metal.

Your body, your mind, you left it all,
With your friends buried ‘neath the earth;
Are you happy with your goddam medal?

What did you get in return for your soul?
What did they tell you it was worth?
Nothing but ribbons and metal.

Forced to watch your comrades fall,
Trampling over bodies of those you loved,
Are you happy with your goddam medal?

Promised the world when you answered the call;
Did you get what you deserve?
Nothing but ribbons and metal,
Are you happy with your goddam medal?

 

I would like to be clear that despite this poem being directed towards the soldiers, it is an attack not on them, but on those who feel that a petty medal is somehow supposed to justify all they went through. The commanders who never see battle themselves, sending those under their command to their deaths. The governments who declare wars that they themselves will never fight, never experiencing the unimaginable horrors that the soldiers face on the frontline.

As for the soldiers, I have nothing but respect for them.

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