The Callousness, the Futility of War


The following is a response to the sadness and the horror of war, strife, unbridled hate within countries, including our own, and between countries. Each piece responds to an actual event, reported by trusted media or learned through local knowledge.


Some people were born into the conviction that you fought with arms for the independence and freedom of your country. This was the right and only way, and so it was with this young man.

We were Young

Drifting in the moonlight
underneath the stars,
I see your funny face that smiles on me from afar.
Tomorrow the sun will be shining,
and I will forget you again,
except when two clear eyes of blue
come to me now and then.

Your heart was ever happy,
your purpose true and brave,
and for the dreams you cherished
you’re sleeping now in your grave,
but tonight we will drift in the moonlight,
you’ll come to me from afar,
and we will laugh as oft’ times before
out here beneath the stars.


Elsewhere in the world.


There was a boy, a happy boy he seemed,
and young enough to have a world of dreams.
He had a bible tucked behind his ear,
and shots and shells were sounding far and near.

This was Saigon, the year was fifty  three,
his eyes were bright and held no signs of fear.
A man said ‘down, there’ll be no warning cry,
a shot or shell, and you my son will die.’

I do not know if he has ever come back home,
or if he died , what was his goal.


Back home to the troubles

A Happy Little Boy

Poor little boy, what cause was this,
that cut you down, while bringing home your cows.
Dear little chap, your mammy’s pride and joy,
no cause was there, no cause.

Just one of many innocents, but every time
seems harsher than before,
is there no end, are hearts so hard and cold?
This cannot be, oh no.

Good bye my sweet, no hate you’ll hold,
though deepest heartache you will leave behind,
but like the star keeps shining in the sky,
light up the dark with your bright eyes.


Later in Syria.

Children in War

Children in war, not of their making,
too stunned to cry, no one will hear.
Where is the cause, what is the reason?
We did no wrong, let us go home.

Children in war, not of their choosing,
listen to them, bring them back home.


More recently in Ireland and the troubles

Another Little Boy

A little boy runs after a funeral procession. He is crying bitter tears,
 ‘_ _He was a policeman and he is my daddy_ _ _’


And again in Syria_ _ _  A young American man – having spent time in prison in Syria – was beheaded. Afterwards his mother spoke in the following terms.


Our hearts are broken, but they will heal,
and all is dark, but the light will come,
and sometime when the sun comes shining through
we’ll sing again.

Yes this the lady said.
There is one God of many names, one God of all of us, she said,
the one who lost her child.

And we will walk together in the light,
no sound of guns, but only music,
in harmony of many parts, of many voices,
the lady said, the one whose son was slain.

I called this piece Courage at the time, but it was more than courage. It was courage and openness and hope – hope for a better world.