Not the Good Life
We can dream of a happy house
Ringing with the laughs of children
Alive with the patter of their feet.
We can dream of a soft voice beckoning
To bed and board, to hearth and home,
Warm with the love of a gentle woman.
We can dream of a glad, quiet garden
Of a mighty tree planted in our youth
While age ripens us in its shadow.
We can dream.
But dreams are of the world of what-if,
The what-if we were denied by fate,
By malice, by ignorance.
Dreams are for the night before the clash
Before the blood flows, the earth shakes
Before death descends upon the land.
And from this deathsland we can emerge
Glistening and great, the sun at our backs.
We will be named knights and heroes,
Bathed in the baptismal blood of honored friend and cursed foe.
And as the terrors of battle recede
And triumph courses through weary flesh,
We remember the dreams of house, garden and woman
And begrudge ourselves not a manly tear
As we carry on the dirty business of survival
For we cannot have the good life,
But through worth and strength
We can have the glorious life.
-Nicholas R. Jeelvy