The oaken cluster gleams of gold upon the noble
breast of warrior, returned from tour in land far off,
the seventh crusade waged for blackened flowing gold.
All those left behind look with envy upon the man,
the hero and the brats that cling to him with pride.
But beneath the smile and the wink, behind the doors
of the blue starred home, the children peel and slink
away from the father that was seldom there, wife
wipes the mask away from face – then silence like
a tolling bell, like the taps of his fallen comrades.
Then doth show the wounds of heart, the bruises
of the soul, as lack of love swipes ope the bullet
holes the pierced the human spirit. The endless
yelling that hits unknown enemy behind the mother
of his children, forgotten – a home to hell turned.
But the sleepless night gives way to coming day,
and once again the family steps upon the stage –
each must play their part well, read the proper lines,
lest the whole sink a little lower and the slipknot
wrap a little tighter round the parents and children.
What balm is to be found amongst the friends
that hide tongues as sharp as knives? Only does
the bottle drown the dark thoughts and nightmares
the shake the sleep from eyes when it comes, as
a curse of God, but the hole is never filled to brim.
One thing is certain as the worshipped man looks
into empty eyes, into face contorted by apathy –
such a generous uncle steep price of soul requests
for all the bounty given to the rest, for the privilege
and the knowledge paid for not in coin, but in blood.
Then when he sees his life already taken, unknown
and ignored, he takes up the gun that gave his livelihood,
then the destiny is filled not by enemy hand, but by
right hand that weaves with left the lethal knot –
then jump – and life is shattered, measure for measure.