I have more in common with a murderer than a minister

As the red, white, and blue wraps around the sinister

And evil is not evil when thought done for the good

So, we happily take lives as all good soldiers should


Given a uniform, the fatal skills, and a warrior’s mind

We are thrown into the fray and killing easy to find

While the fear races through the heart of a mother

It avoids the heart of her son who kills his brother


We see to complete our mission without taking pause

Survival overtakes any sense of reasonable cause

And in a battle won by only who kills whom first

An animal emerges that bears a bloodthirst


An inebriation of power comes at the taking of life

As another’s hopes drip from the edge of your knife

Here, where my greatest evils lie so unexposed

The light of the once good in me slowly erodes


I have crossed a line, where few others want to go

Heaven a wonder, yet the real hell is to know

That somewhere inside you, evil sleeps in the man

Who felt nothing for the blood and death on his hands


Fate denied me a regretless death in the field

And that extra time, no great good did it yield

For the rest of my life, whatever evils I resist

I will have to live knowing that man still exists


20 Responses to “Knowing”
  1. I am so in awe of the expression of these specific words. A sworn oath give the soldier the ‘right’ to take necessary steps that include cold-blooded massacre. Following the expectations and demands of an authority figure, however, does not dissolve the realization that you have possibly committed, if nothing else, a moral sin. If one has any regret, however, for those actions, it helps us to perceive those persons as penitent of those actions, and forgiveness is forthcoming. After all, “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.”

  2. beth says:

    Such a strong treatise on the cost of war

  3. Francisco Bravo Cabrera says:

    I feel very close to these words Brad, they are very pure, very true and very introspective. I think that the rules of birth and death, the cycles of life and the morality of “Thou Shall not Kill”, are flexible and applied whimsically at times and lifted when it suits the establishment. As a soldier I did what I had to do, not just to accomplish my mission but to ensure that all my men came back and sometimes I cared little for the mission and just ensured the safety of one and all who were sent on it. I did not lose my sense of right and wrong and although I have done many things I consider wrong, I tried always to think before acting and act prudently, even when faced with the enemy…This is a great poem and I really appreciate the honesty and your candour. All the best my friend,

  4. kristianw84 says:

    To be fair, I have known many ministers who proclaim to be good and righteous as they use the word of God, and prey on the weak for their own personal gain. Not that any one sin is greater than another, however; when given the choice to walk beside a soldier who fought for his country or a minister who wants to throw scripture down my throat to line his own pockets, I will always walk with the soldier. ❤

  5. Jim Borden says:

    I always enjoy reading your poems about being a soldier. Such an honest look at what a struggle it is.

  6. jonicaggiano says:

    Brad your poetry is so perfectly crafted and so emotional for me. I believe you had a job to do and you did what you had to do. What would have happened if we never went to war? I don’t know. However the bible is full of wars and the leaders we had at the time made the decisions and you followed. I respect and honor your service my friend. To me you are a hero. I always respected my father’s service so much and the pride he had for the service and sacrifices he made for his Country. Sending you lots of hugs and love my friend. xoxoxo Joni

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Thank you Jonikins! You are always so thoughtful and kind with your words. Thank you dear friend!

      • jonicaggiano says:

        I mean what I say Brad some people don’t care for my honesty. I also fight for what I believe is right. I learned these traits from my father. I will always be grateful for these things I learned from watching him. You have an extraordinary gift of the ability to craft words perfectly and beautifully both. That is not easy to do. I appreciate you sharing such a heartfelt poem today. Please do stay safe my friend. I do see you as a hero by the way. Love ❤️ ya Joni

  7. petespringerauthor says:

    Those of us who never served can only imagine the mixed feelings you must have.

  8. To me, this felt like a patriotic anthem, though it does describe a soldiers fate in a war. There are some many experiences, uncertainty, fear, turmoil, rage and responsibility which a solider carries sacrificing oneself for a greater good, the history of the world is about wars and one who has seen all that is strongest of all. You can perfectly capture that expression of a soldiers mind. Unfortunately, until there is life, there will be some war always.

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