WAR POEM by Lincoln Kerstein
T E N T - M A T E S
It's no cinch to live together
In a field three acres square
With your noncoms and your officers
Sleeping and eating there.
Soldiers aren't chosen wisely
To be four-season friends;
Neither lovers nor companions,
We were picked for rougher ends.
hence our interest seems to lessen
In snapshots of buddies' wives,
Nor are we all-absorbed by
Incidents in lurid lives
Which startlingly resemble
Our own grim or comic tale
But which, on other lips than ours,
In passion, tend to pale.
From living in each other's laps,
From sniffing at each other's pores,
From glimpsing every function of
The human mechanisim's chores,
From dozing next to unloved flesh,
From swimming in the common stew,
We're trigger happy to the touch
At our compulsive rendezvous.
I do not mind my own shit.
Why then avoid another's?
Answers are articles of war:
Men are seldom brothers.
SOURCE: Rhymes< and more Rhymes of as PFC by Lincoln Kirstein | New Directions Press | © 1964 || IMAGES: Photos from the internet | Sketch from USA Civil War Sketchbook, Henri Lovie 1862 |