The White-Feathered Soul, by Maddy Forsyth

Upon the hill,
Frost bitten and grey
Lie the saints who eagerly
Heard their country call.
The bugles of war sounded in their ears,
Amidst the hollers of loved one’s cheers,
Who thought they’d fall so soon, but yet the tide
Still washes over them with lasting pride.

Upon the mantelpiece of an old beggar’s home,
Lies the dust smothered memory
Of a white-feathered soul.
They never speak of him nor fondly think,
Of the burden who caused their reputation to sink,
For the man who solemnly refused to fight
Was yet the villain who vanquished all sense of “right”.

Little they knew of his strong belief,
That raged through his being like wildfire.
Little they knew of his faith, like hope,
That latched itself onto each tiny cell,
And grew more powerful with each passing day.
Oblivious to this “cancer” that would lead him astray,
They placed their trust in their only son
And yet he retreated at the mention of a gun.

He spoke of a peace,
Laced with reverence and respect,
Of a world that could one day
Put aside its differences and unite.
No more war nor endless talk of death,
But a lasting harmony that required no final breath,
The hope that someday the fighting would cease
For yet to come was this impossible peace.

Alone, so alone,
Cast off and despised,
His family’s hearts forever printed with shame.
They tied him up with chains of enmity,
Upon him they rose and cursed and beat,
And jeered like animals at his feet,
But he was above the ostentation,
As yet he himself would shake the nation.

But inside his head
Vast chasms of darkness swirled and roared,
His personal battle still to be won.
This private conflict full of doubt and despair
Was the war from which he didn’t dare
To flee from precious peace disturbed,
Yet steadfast faith remained unperturbed.

Far from coward,
This “white-feathered” soul was braver, still,
Than any young jingoist with head in cloud.
For what was valour if not the endeavour
To stand out from a crowd, faltering never,
And express your belief however strange,
Though yet cynics your views attempt to change.

And stars in their eyes
Like glistening jewels
Fall, burst, flicker in the twilight
The stars, like so many before,
A sign of hope for the ever-darkening world,
Who appear like angels with wing unfurled.
Who continue regardless to promote peace on Earth
So that yet we, in turn, may rejoice in our mirth.

Upon the hill,
Frost bitten and grey
Lie the saints who eagerly
Heard their country call.
Their country was the suffering globe,
Clothed in hatred; a fitting robe
For such a careless waste of life
Yet peaceful stars may end the strife.