The mothers on both sides cried out
     “They shan’t have died in vain!”
While churchmen in their pulpits shout
     “God’s on our side again!”
And leaders seeking votes declaim
     “Their lives our rights regain!”
While battling soldiers seeking fame
     Hope to see Home again.
But to each conflict are two sides;
     Just one can victor be.
With ebb and flow of battle tides
     All is but vanity.
The waves of vict'ry poets ride;
     Heroic tales to be.
While those defeated must decide
     No loss to ever see.
Let us return to victors past
     To see how well they fared
With years gone by, so long, so vast
     Has their might since been pared?
So many, many from which to choose,
     As humans oft have dared
To make of Mars their people’s Muse
     No generation spared.

We start with the might of Pharaohs,
     Who Egypt made so strong,
Now tourists seek the peaked barrows
     Unless bombs quell the throng.
Alexander the Greeks did take
     To hear the Hindu song.
But to speak Greek at Sambhar Lake
     Shows that you don’t belong.

The Romans their Legions held sway.
     From North, South, East and West
The conquered their tribute did pay
     Bringing Peace on Earth blest.
Then to gain some Roman treasure,
     The Barbarian pest
Took an axe to Pax for pleasure,
     Seeking an extreme quest.

The Great Khans conquered so much land
     That the heirs could not keep
A plan of cohesion on hand.
     Tamerlane made them weep
With the sweep of his mighty hordes.
     Crumbled into a heap,
All was taken by others’ swords.
     Thus ends the Mongol’s leap.

Italians, Portuguese, and Dutch
     Germany, England, France,
Spain. All were told, when in the clutch,
     “Be gone, you had your chance,
Pains!” Yet to this day one can know
     From language, customs, dance;
The remnants of old masters show
     Lessons under the lance.

It is difficult at this point
     In time so far removed,
To see mothers as they anoint
     Their sons whom they approved
To go to fight, perhaps to die
     For that which it behooved.
Would they still consent to comply
     Knowing what hist'ry proved?

Neighbors fight neighbors, tribes fight tribes,
     Cities seek to expand.
Nations war over unjust jibes
     And bits of rocky land.
Empires rise and then they fall,
     Locals together band
And rid themselves once and for all
     Of the Oppressor’s hand.

Can’t it be said, in time of war –
     All who die die in vain?
We pray it’s not so; let us pour
     Forth our righteous campaign.
A victory here, a hero
     There; break out the Champaign!
Yet hundreds of years may zero
     Out all those bloody gains.

Not satisfied with being Right,
     We must right others Wrong.
And each side has Truth in its sight,
     Singing their Right-ness song.
Mine eyes have seen the Heavenly flight
     Of the Angelic throng!
What Angels be these, whose godly might
     Could for such murder long?

In current times, Religions all
     Claim to be for Peace alone.
We know, in fact, just for the thrall,
     Faith provides War a phone
Direct to God. Should not Teachers
     Of the churches be shown –
They fail their duty as Preachers
     To keep God’s Peace enthroned?

Faith alone does not cause such strife,
     Power, Hunger, and Greed
Plant the seeds that destroy much life
     Growing just like a weed.
Where is true Faith in God, if we
     Place faith in Men to lead
Their own to harm’s way? Make a plea
     For Justice in this deed.

Civilized Mankind wants to know
     Why War continues on
Even when we see just how low
     War has made us when gone.
Philosophers, poets, drinkers,
     People mowing their lawn,
Even Political thinkers,
     Seek some answers to pawn.

They take not much effort to find;
     Answers with sanity
Are given by much better minds
     In perpetuity.
But they’re shunned like the manatees!
     Imagine… sanity.
Yes, “Vanity of vanities.”
     And “All is vanity!”

Thus spoke Qoheleth!