by Emanuel Seafont and Rod Walford

They'd considered him a hero in the place where he was born,
In that town beneath the mountains, near the sea.
He had fought in places far away, by savage conflict torn,
With the hope he might help others to be free.

He had seen the wrath of nature, its ferocity withstood;
And he'd witnessed hate and bigotry and lies;
But he’d done his duty proudly, in the quest for common good
In his land, and under distant, lonely skies..

But times must change, and friendships fade, and life itself conclude,
Then his final homeward pilgrimage began.
Where the memories of the few who loved him changed with time renewed,
And his ashes claimed the ground where once he ran.

He had made that greatest sacrifice ........ is it to be in vain?
Shall his heirs not see the dawn of freedom’s light?
And how shall we convince ourselves he perished without pain,
In the blistered heart of conflict’s endless night?

It seems to make it bearable, convincing, though untrue
That his deeds would teach us lessons that endure.
But in sweet and blissful ignorance the sins of man accrue.
Still the consequence of violence is sure.

Yet it was for him, the final call, he’d not be asked again
To face the awful ravages of war.
To take up arms, to kill and die, for bloody tyrants’ gain
Thus feed their lustful appetites for more.

Now his brothers, sons and daughters too, march past in jungle greens,
Undaunted as they follow in his tracks.
Too soon their pride and honour will give way to shattered dreams
As their grand illusions wane like molten wax.

So they depart for distant shores, where moguls rest at leisure,
To write their closing epitaphs in blood,
They’ll pay the price in life and limb, as warlords hoard their treasure.
Yet scarce restrain this dark, foreboding flood.

Is this to be our destiny for countless years to come,
That the white dove from her chosen path transgress?
Must freedom be subverted by the missile and the gun
Hot condiments of war - such bitterness!

Then will all his years of tribulation yield for us no gain?
Cruel harvest makes the fodder of the rich.
Shall his kinfolk not abide in peace, bereft of guilt and pain?
Not forgotten in a bloody roadside ditch.

Of countless number passed before, he’s surely not the last;
Though honest men hold dear his proclamations.
His hero’s badge lies tarnished in the mists of ages past
While the cursed hand of death still haunts our nations.

He’d done his best, but in the grip of failure’s icy claw
Grows stronger still the lust to kill and maim.
He gave his all to edify, to bring an end to war;
Yet human folly lingers .............. just the same.

For me, for you, no greater love could this man ever show
Than the forfeit of his own life for his friend.
His hero’s soul now rests fulfilled - ‘twas written long ago
Whilst love has life, she’ll triumph....... in the end.

“Experience keeps a dear school - and a fool will learn in no other.”

© 1999 Emanuel Seafont/Rod Walford.