Why am I a soldier
Did I choose this war
Is it my war
Does it matter either way?
When you live alone – have no-one.
They said that I should join up
Wear a uniform
Carry a gun – be someone.
Go out at dawn and seek out the enemy
Be prepared to shoot – to kill – be killed.
Does the enemy think the same?
To shoot me – to kill me.
Can I not stay at home
Alone – all the others gone – America
With the oil lamp and the dog for company
In one hundred years
Who will remember?
Will it make a difference?
Will anybody say I was a hero?
For now, the uniform gives me belonging
I am somebody,
Part of a family of soldiers
If I do not show up, they will miss me
But – if the enemy shoots first
Who will mourn me?
Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in Poetry as Commemoration workshops held at the National Museum of Ireland — Country Life on the 8th & 9th of November 2022. The workshops were led by writer Terry McDonagh.