THE SERVICE IS MY ONLY VIRTUE REMAINING

by Allen K. McGann

Across the table they sat in judgment
Of my actions on that day,
On a Paradise land,
Of jungle and sand,
That seems so far away.

I was taught a hundred ways
To open wide death’s door,
With each lesson taught,
I’d often thought,
With this I could do more.

Said the gods to me “every pound of lies
Holds an ounce of truth”.
To glean it out,
And leave no doubt,
This is our gift to you.

I had packed all my blessings, theories and lessons
Onto that tropic isle.
Arriving first,
As we’d rehearsed,
But we had to wait awhile.

With my key to Oblivion firm in hand
The first customer soon came by,
With style and grace,
I grabbed his face,
He knew, he soon would die.

I held him, my lessons, my theories and blessings
To glean the ounce of true,
I decided to take
A second to make
Him tell me what he knew.

Intensely listening, the judges sat
As I began to speak
Of muffled moans,
And broken bones,
And spirit much too weak.

“Between the begging and praying,
I had gleaned all that I could.
I promised the peace,
Of a quick release,
If the info he gave was good.”

“Then orders I gave for a recon,
Though no rank I had to give.
My orders were right,
For after the fight,
Each of us did live.”

I looked on the Brass at the table
And thought I’d better say more.
“I sent him to the gate,
Of oblivion to wait,
For the others we killed in this war.”

Across the table they sat in judgment,
Of my actions on that day.
On a Paradise land,
I’d tortured a man,
For reasons I could not say.

“Before we begin deliberation,
There is something we must know.
Can this gleaning you do,
To anyone who,
Has information we’d like to know?”

“Aye Sir” I said to the table.
The deliberations didn’t take long.
When they came back,
They patted my back,
“Son, this is where you belong.”

There are countries you’ve never heard of,
And wars, on T.V. won’t be seen.
Many languages spoke,
Many languages wrote,
From them truth I have gleaned.

My gift for gleaning truth works best,
When I cause physical pain.
The Generals didn’t mind,
“It’s done all the time,
Just look at the history of Spain.”

The details of what may have happened,
I can neither confirm nor deny.
Because right or wrong,
My loyalty’s strong.
Details go with me when I die.

It was an honor to serve my country,
But time came to focus on me.
I wanted to find,
A place for my mind,
And still be all I could be.

I went to work in the Private Sector,
But for truth, they didn’t care.
They said “Punish with pain,
And our money regain,
They’re thieves, it’s only fair.”

I soon learned there was no Honor
In the pain I was paid to inflict.
After many bruises from bashings,
And several limb detachings,
It was starting to make me feel sick.

Somehow I’d lost my direction.
I was drowning in a quagmire,
For I’d finally seen
The difference between,
A soldier and sadist for hire.

When I realized I had sullied my Honor,
Karma came like a bombshell,
Soon the maimed and the dead,
Crawled into my head,
Turning slumber into my private Hell.

Though I’d tarnished most of my Honor.
My Service, with Virtue still glows.
I’m proud of my past,
That protected your ass,
From shit-storms, you’ll never know.

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3 Responses to THE SERVICE IS MY ONLY VIRTUE REMAINING

  1. big sister suzie says:

    very good when did you get to be so talented- must have4 got it from your sister

  2. Well, Mr. McGann, I must say that this is a lovely poem. I have heard you recite many poems before, but none as interesting as this one. Very interesting. I love you, my dear grandfather.

  3. Michael D. Goscinski says:

    Well done… I could never do that… Holding rhyme scheme and poetic structure that long amazes me….

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