A Million Unknown Soldiers (poem, 1995)

This is a poem I wrote over twenty years ago. I was in college at the time. Oddly, it seems as though that younger me wrote it to…well, me today.

You walk alone down your tourniquet life
Binding yourself with unaided strife
A knothole to peep through to an unimpressed world
The kaleidoscope comfort of silhouette swirls
Before you is lain a path not quite new
You sit back and dream of a man not quite you
A pattern of stones which is not quite a trail
A goal which you strive for that’s not quite a grail

You see down the path
The footprints of an unknown solider
You follow in the tracks left by
A man just a little bit bolder

You sit back and relax, and turn on the news
Refreshing yourself with a younger man’s views
You wonder how your old life could be torn asunder
By an older man’s rhetoric and a younger man’s blunder
The cavalry rides in to answer the call
But you sit here waiting to question them all
Solving the riddles of your impotent life
You churn your own butter to cut with your knife

You hear in the distance
The cry of another dying soldier
You see on the grass the frost
Of a world just a little bit colder

You think about where the old times are now
And when the far-off places will return
You freeze your face into a guarded mask
And set all your emotions to burn
The life you once knew is one you still have
But it’s buried alone at wounded heart
And just when you think your life’s song is done
It returns once again to the start

You see at the grave
The footprints of another unknown soldier
You follow in the tracks left by
A man just a little bit older

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