The Wooden Soldier

The wooden soldier marches
As he was wound to do.
Steadily, rhythmically,
Mechanical precision.
The only dislocation
Between manufactured knees.
The wooden soldier marches
Then stands perfectly still,
A soldier no more
But a wooden peg.

But the soldier I know
Keeps on marching.
He keeps on beating
For he has no key
To stop him from seeing
Dislocated limbs
Of children on children.
He has no key
To stop him from smelling
The river of blood
On Sunday afternoons.

Forgive us, O Soldier
For factorizing keys
Only for soldiers
On wooden knees.
Forgive us, soldier
For mechanized birds,
Wooden logs and battlefields.

(from Golden Spike, 1973)

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