All day long the old men
have been passing my door
on their way to war.

‘Come off it, lads, you’re past it,’
neighbours shout after them, and
‘Don’t forget your Complan, dad!’

But with the younger men all dead and gone,
most of the younger women,
and so many of the kids,

there’s no one left
to fight the battles
they once sent others out to fight,

no one
but the wounded and the infants
to cheer them on their way.

And us, of course,
me over here
and you out there somewhere (I hope),

each of us wondering,
in a neutral country like ours,
what a poem like this could possibly have to say.