If you want peace, they say, then prepare for war.
No playful meadows of sheep romping at pasture;
Notice the thread-bare grass trampled by thousands of rhythmic feet.
Memorize the musky scent of the dark, whispering forest;
Cringe as the copper stench of acrid blood invades your nostrils.
Forget the murmur of the reverent on street corners at dusk.
Dull your ears to the cacophonous cries of combat.
Say goodbye to the fading day besmeared across a weary beach.
Squint to decipher that same shoreline
littered by concertina wire, desecrated men, gaping swells of blood.
Capture the beauty of a warm, cloud-freckled sky
Soon singed by the pollution of destruction.
These atrocities are ours for
We must trust that transformation is worth the wounds of war.
Only by being ravaged will we one day be whole.
What was lush must be barren to again be new.
What we forsook will again become a treasure,
Because what was lost
will forever remind us of the cost of freedom.