Veteran Photo

        Saw a picture in the paper the other day
        ‘Wounded veteran meets President of the USA’
        But there wasn’t much that boy could say
        As half his face was burned away

        And where that lad’s right leg should be
        All was gone below the knee
        Still, we presume, in the land of the free
        Someone will pay the medical fee

        When skies are blue and storms have calmed
        Perhaps he’ll go home to the farm
        Hopefully enduring no more harm
        And learn to function with one arm

        Now new soldiers must be hired
        To replace those compulsorily retired
        A gallant death is much admired
        Permanent injuries seem less inspired

        When the day at last is done
        And the endless war is finally won
        Mothers stand weeping for their sons
        Dismembered by those distant guns

        No instant death with a single shot
        And flowers strewn on a hero’s plot
        With a fresh white cross to mark the spot
        If only that could be your lot

        Instead, a life of wasted time
        For soldiers cut down in their prime
        Scratching and begging for a dime
        Or drifting into petty crime

        So here’s a message to all young men
        When Uncle Sam needs your help again
        Before you sign up with your friends
        Remember how the story often ends
                                               Richard Raftery