Playing War

mud balls

When we were little
we were cowboys and Indians,
gun slingers and quick draws,
Gunsmoke and Lone Ranger
and in more movies glorifying
World War II than I could count.

Then along came Vietnam
and nightly reports of causalities
delivered by a somber Walter Cronkite.
Skirmishes in the Middle East
and the Six-Day War of ’67
and continual Cold War tensions—
you would think we would have had
enough of war.

But, no, we played a game we called
war.
Running and crawling in the cornfields
and around the barns,
mud balls when it was wet,
and mud clods when it was dry,
were our dirty bombs,
launched with a vengeance
from high ground
or in close combat,
stinging when they hit.

I look back now
at how innocent the game seemed
even though we called it
war.
Brothers at war we were,
but brothers before warriors,
and I thank God none of us ever
graduated from mud balls to
bullets.

Because now war doesn’t seem so glorious
after all.

About stevenddorsey

I have been an avid writer for as long as I can remember. I enjoy composing poetry, lyrics, children's books and fiction for young adults. I have traveled the world extensively in my 25+ year career as an International Development professional and executive. I have lived in Europe, Latin America, and Africa. I speak Spanish and French. I married Rachel Miltimore in 1985. We have five children and five grandchildren. We currently live in Manassas, Virginia. We enjoy writing children's books together.
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