Friday, June 3, 2011

Tin Soldiers

Tin soldiers stand up ramrod straight
And march in perfect rows
Across the patterned
Quilted squares
Toward their wooden foes

The little general, five years old,
Shouts out their strategy
The soldiers in
His pudgy hands
Defeat their enemy

Tin soldiers with their bayonets
Won’t march at all today
Except the one
The general took
To school, so he could play.

Tin soldiers march through six more years
Across the nursery floor
The general doesn’t
Play with them
As often as before

But still sometimes, he takes them down
(How militant they look!)
And sets them up
Like armies in
His favorite history book

Tin soldiers watch their general tie
The laces on his shoes
Sixteen today
He frowns a bit
And reads the morning news

Tin soldiers stand upon the shelf
And stare across the room
Where once they marched
And victories won
Now empty as a tomb

The general’s face they see again
A photo on the wall
So many medals
On his chest!
A handsome man, and tall

Tin soldiers live for thirty years
Inside a chest of pine
Their bayonets
Are duller now
Their faces lost their shine

Until the day the general comes
And gives a happy shout
As he kneels down
Beside the chest
And lifts his soldiers out

And one more time, he’s five years old
The soldiers march once more
The general gives
A fine salute
And sits down on the floor

~ © Andrea Grace