Not Like the Songs - Richard Higley 2016 Poet of the Year

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Not Like the Songs

I've wandered far, near all my life,

I've done a thing or two.

I've gathered tales I'm meant to tell,

A few were even true

But there's more to this treasure trove,

I've hid behind my smile,

Some wisdoms that I've gleaned from life,

I'll share in just a while.

I earn my keep with words and songs,

Some favorites, some brand new.

With epic tales of battles won

On which boys love to chew.

With knights of skill, both black and white,

Depending on which side

Of bravery in the face of odds

From which the craven ride.

When I was young,

I went to war And saw the butcher's bill.

I weighed the cost to every soul

When I was forced to kill.

I carry scars upon my soul,

No matter what they say,

But still I buy my bread and bed

With hero songs I play.

Front and center in these songs,

A hero standing tall.

He never twinges in the breach,

His foes are never small.

He'll thrust and block with endless strength,

He'll banter, rage and sneer.

And when the dross is laid to rest,

It's he for whom all cheer.

In epic sagas that I tale,

One almost hears the steel.

While those who have survived the fight

May see it less than real.

No one who wars, returns untouched,

Unscathed by Ares blades.

Not all the wounds have surface scars

Whose pain more quickly fades.

I've oft conversed with those who lived,

Survived the worst men do.

I hear the tales they cannot tell,

I've lived through their hell too.

The bulk of war falls to the young,

Especially toward the end.

They came with thoughts to match the deeds

Heroic stories vend.

One wide-eyed lad confessed to me,

And prayed me never tell.

He felt disgraced he shat himself

And pissed his pants as well.

I said, ' Young Sir, please have a care

To how you see that time.

Real life's not like the songs portray,

To think so is a crime.

Richard Higley © April 20, 2016

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