To the Nameless Soldier

Your orders may come now,
or at 19h45 this evening.

'Shoot to kill'
''Engage the enemy'
'Hold the line'
'Break up the gathering'
'Ready, aim, fire'

But you have felt too ,
the stab of hunger ,
the bite of thirst,
the bayonet of loss ,
the wound of despair .

But you have seen too ,
the pain in a mother's eyes ,
the grief in a father's face ,
the incomprehension in a child's down-cast look .

'Ready, aim, fire'

But you, the nameless soldier have heard ,
the cries of the grieving family ,
the wailing of the widowed wife ,
the quiet agonising sound of the child's weeping .

'Ready, aim, fire'

Your orders may come now ,

or at 23h30 tonight.

or tomorrow .

Or the day after that .

Or next week or month or year .

But you have seen and felt and heard,
the agony of a peoples' simple desire ,
the hurt of a nation long bludgeoned ,
the wounds of your stolen generation .

So when that order comes ,

now ,

or at 03h30 tomorrow morning ,

'Ready, aim, fire'

Let your humanity muzzle your rifle .

Let your conscience dismiss the order .

Let  your better side come to the fore and let your very own people, 
your mother and your father, 
your sister and your brother, 
your son and your daughter, 
your friend and your lover,

let them live.

Let them be .

Let your rifle fall to the soil of your beloved motherland .

o' nameless soldier.

Afzal Moolla

Afzal Moolla was born in Delhi, India while his parents were in exile, fleeing Apartheid South Africa. , He then travelled wherever his parent's work took them and he still feels that he hasn't stopped travelling. , Afzal works and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and shares his literary musings with his most strident critic - his 12 year old cat. 

Last updated July 14, 2015