Saturday, 22 October 2011

To Michael Lyons

People like yourself, who cannot kill,
because their conscience tells them it is wrong
are much braver than those so-called heroes
immortalised in verse and song,
who follow orders, whatever they may be.
They are the sons of Horace, and as Owen said
adhere to that old lie: “Pro patria mori”
“and close the wall up with our English dead!”
And other dead who never read the bard
or even Tennyson, but battled onward,
“into the valley of death” all learn the lie
their governments pass on, as they lay to die.
It’s different now, with countless miles of no-fly zones
and remote bombing from our unmanned drones.
You didn’t need to make the stance you did
but I’m glad you did, I’m glad you did, so glad you did.
You’re  in good company, Lawrence Binyon,
was a medic too, and apparently the son
of a Quaker family opposed to war as a salvation
who gave us thoughts on war for every nation:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.


© John Goss

Navy Afghan war objector Michael Lyons detained 
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