Joel Delpha

Rookie (August 13,1949 / Turners Falls, MA)


Knights bedecked in iron mail
'Neath colored tunics came
To slaughter those of different stripe
All for gold and fame.

Men dressed in lace and scarlet coat
In ranks marched off to fall
Cut down by those in different coats
With sword and musket ball.

Mothers' sons from North and South
Wearing blue and brown
Met to lie together
In death upon the ground.

Uber men in deaths-head black
With scant a nod or wave
Sent the ones in star-marked coats
To ovens and to graves.

Dressed alike in charcoal gray
In board room or in bank
The rich display their privilege
Over those of lesser rank.

The uniform of everyone
Is the one I choose to wear
The uniform God made for all
Is what I choose to bare.

Dressed in wind and sun and sky
I greet with warm embrace
Those whose only uniform
Is of the human race.

The uniform I'll die in
Is that which I was born.
Sad this gentle uniform
Is fraught with shame and scorn.

Submitted: Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, July 24, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

This poem was written on the occasion of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

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