Ode to a Martyr

a poem by Abhimanyu Rawat

Anxious eyes await the news,
though trying to hide their fear.
Because they know what it feels to lose,
someone they loved and lost so dear.

A knock is heard upon the door,
the family jumps up with a start.
Could this be what they were waiting for?
Oh, God how it tears the heart!

A burly man enters the room,
and whispers softly in the old man’s ear.
All eyes gaze as he nearly swoons,
to hear the news of his son so dear.

The bearer of bad tidings leaves,
his job performed, his work well done.
All rush to the man as he falls on his knees,
crying ,”God have mercy on our son!”

The tears stream down his wrinkled face,
while he makes a valiant effort to stand.
“We’ll make it through with God’s good grace,
our son’s a martyr for his land.”

“Oh woe this day,” the mother cries,
her tears stream down like pouring rain.
“It is not right the young should die,
nobody knows a mother’s pain.”

Soon comes a letter which reads so nice,
in print so clear and starkly cold.
“For this young boys great sacrifice,
a shining medal of solid gold.

He was indeed a brave young man,
his courage was at his highest peak.
His life he gave for his motherland,
there’s more like him we’d like to seek.

We’re sorry to lose such a valiant youth,
in this bloody but noble war.
He died for righteousness and truth,
could anyone ask for more?”

“Oh woe is me!” The mother cried.
“Is this what human life is worth?
That we should see our young ones die,
Is this why we give birth?”

Oh how many more must fight and die,
before all wars come to an end?
How many hearts must break and cry,
Over father, husband, son and friend.