Peace At What Cost

Implacably strong, we tumble to earth
Lords of destruction, avengers of faith
Six of us together, we leave our bird of prey
Brothers in arms of the airborne cavalry
We leap once more as many times before
Into strife, devoid of fear, once again
Ricky and Lee, Harry and Mark, Davie and I

In company strength, bold and strong
We leave the hovering craft behind
We surge against our foe in rage blind
With passion and resolve
A shield that deflects injury and death
Fire and flame, shot and shell, none will harm
Ricky and Lee, Harry and Mark, Davie and I

A maniac's grin masks my face
As I deliver the flower of my enemy
To whatever sacred place they pass in death
Davie to the right, Mark to the left
We roll them under, bend them to our will
Cries of pain and fear abound, but none from
Ricky and Lee, Harry and Mark, Davie and I

From landing zone to rolling hills
They retreat before our withering fire
To flee and falter, to fall and die
No quarter asked, none would be given
Ruination of flesh, purified in death
Lie beneath the booted heels of
Ricky and Lee, Harry and Mark, Davie and I

Unwittingly, we cross an invisible line
In geography, in philosophy, combined
For here at last they stand and fight
Upon this battered hill we climb
The difference is felt, it cannot be denied
It matters not a whit to us, still comes
Ricky and Lee, Harry and Mark, Davie and I

The six of us stand to the test of fire
That fells our comrades in steady droves
Where are the birds of prey today?
That served so well in times like these?
Emboldened by the lack is our foe
Their will enraged, but still defied by
Ricky and Lee, Harry and Mark, Davie and I

Sorry! says the captain of our cause
No birds today, not tomorrow, nor again
You must do without, prove your worth
Show the mettle of your skill and souls
The folks at home don't want us here
The birds are first to go. Who cares? Not
Ricky and Lee, Harry and Mark, Davey and I

Climbing the hill of mud, sweat and blood
We lose so many, for our enemies fire is strong
Mortar and rocket rain from above
While ours in silence dwells. Why is this?
Who is it who doesn't know or care
That our friends and comrades die in vain? Not
Ricky and Lee, Harry and Mark, Davey and I

"Our captain is dead" the lieutenant calls
It is time to try even harder
Sorry, boys. The artillery's has gone
To follow air cover withdrawal
The folks at home don't want us here
But you'll be the last to go. Who cares? Just
Ricky and Lee, Harry and Mark, Davey and I

Ducking beneath the bullets whine
I miss the blast that takes Harry
It's Ricky who says, "My God, he's dead"
Just before he loses his head
To the rockets flame and fire.
The time has come to end this farce
No Ricky but Lee, less Harry with Mark, Davey and I

A hundred voices are raised in rage
We charge up the slope, filled with purpose
With fearless might, we tear them out
Of trench and hole and larder
Lee lost leg and life upon a mine
Of Mark we have no knowledge. Onward
No Ricky nor Lee, no Harry nor Mark, just Davey and I

At last the top of the ridge is achieved
Our pitiful few have swept it clean
Though conflict lives on, rage unabated
Relief in his heart, Davey turns to me
Unaware of the bullet that takes his life
As he falls at my feet, his surprise becomes mine
No Ricky or Lee, Harry or Mark, no Davey just I

"The Lieutenant is dead", the sergeant calls
Now we've decided to leave this place
This worthless hill, this butcher's block
Bought for no reason at tremendous cost
"Why?" I shout as the flower blooms
The flower of red that springs from my chest
As darkness comes and I join the rest
Ricky and Lee, Harry and Mark, Davey and I

Rod Rogers
February 1995