Ann Ryan




They have invited you to war today
and you have gone, are gone
believing your superiors to be superior,
your orders just.

And who am I, my son, to teach
you now the lessons of time,
of how boys like you have always
been used by men like these.                                                     

And who am I but an angry mother
in a sea of angry mothers
who sees the tide come again, as it
always must with men,
the tide of war,
the tide of tin truths tossing
away these young lives,
the tide of righteousness that tells
us their deaths will make them heroes,
legends for the cause.

And who am I to doubt the cause, my son,
for which you are willing to die, who am I?

I have wronged you, I see now,
raised you to follow
the rules
and only now do I warn you:
Not all orders are just, that righteousness
implodes sometimes, turns in on itself
scattering wide its wrongs.

How do I tell you now, on your way to war
that I was wrong about the rules, that
in this war you are nobody but someone else’s
child, nobody but some angry mother’s son.



Ann Ryan lives with her husband and two children outside of Frederick, Maryland. She writes poetry and essays when she can. She works for the local housing authority, connecting residents with education and training opportunities. She is opposed to the war in Iraq.

Published in Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 2006.