Some folk might want tissues while reading this little ballad.
|The soldier lies a'dyin', now|
and doesn't feel a need
to say 'goodbye' to comforters
nor those who made him bleed.
Though gratitude perfects his soul,
he never can repay
the ones who held him close nor those
who sent his life away.
He lived and fought as now he fights
to find a way to live,
and now he lies a'dyin' here
with nothing left to give.
A curtain opens quietly.
Perhaps they bring his shroud,
for only dying lie in here
and life is not allowed.
He feels a weight upon his chest.
Perhaps the end has come.
His muscles feel the gentle weight,
his heart completely numb.
The soldier who lies dyin' here
with nothing left to give,
accepts the touch of hands of one
who still has life to live.
A warmth begins to ease his pain
and brings a little strength.
He senses some great pow'r is near
and turns his head at length.
He opens weak and weary eyes
to see a village lad
beside his bed with toy in hand
in tattered garments clad.
The toy and garments seem to him
incongruous at best,
and yet he knows this waif whose hand
now rests upon his chest.
The boy is one whose village died
when hit by mortar fire;
the boy to whom he gave the toy
and pulled him from the pyre.
The soldier hears the murmured plea,
"Please, Joe. Keep living still."
He tries to give a weakly smile,
and tells the boy, "I will."
He thinks about the boy he saved
from death which others bring;
and thinks of all the times he failed,
"Not one means one damn thing."
The soldier who recovers now,
owes life to one success
and one small boy and loving plea ---
and to one failure less.