How do you ask a soldier to murder?

(for 30 poems in November)

Hitler ignored advice and

invaded Russia.

The soldiers who were too frightened,

dug their own graves.

Soldiers shot them and

Jews who were traitors.


“How do you ask a soldier

to murder?” one soldier asked.


Hitler ordered,

for every German soldier killed

one hundred civilians will be shot.

Hitler ordered,

every captured Russian commissar

will be finished off with a weapon.


“It was an order to murder.

There is no other word for it,” a German officer said


“How do you ask a soldier to murder?”


In Vietnam a lieutenant asked

about civilians gathered in a hamlet.

The captain ordered,

“Kill anything that moves.”


In an ethical war, who can you kill?

Who is the enemy in a world of enemies?


About alicebarrett

Small town writer
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