War poem

They handed us our call-up papers
Along with our degrees
In the golden summer of ‘91;

Another generation
To be thrown into the endless fight
And lost. But I refused.

So while my mates
Packed up their kit, pulled on the uniform
And went to take on the world

I dug in among my fields and woods,
Watching the battle’s bright sky-bursts
And hearing its rough thunder from afar,

Raging against the folly of it all
With quills cut from white feathers
I was handed in the street.

Now they sit, gloriously pavilioned,
Freighted with honours and worthy scars
Commanding legions, lands, and all the spoils.

While I fight on,
Day-by-day and hand-to-mouth,
Beneath no banner but my own

And though my gains and conquests
Are slight and insecure
I claim each little victory as my own,
And trust that I will triumph in the end.