Will You Send Your Child to Battle?
Will you send your child to battle, will you send your child to war
That baby that you nourished, that baby that you bore.
The flag you love so much, will you love it even more?
If not then you should pray for peace
And pray we fight no more.
Will you send your child to battle, or is that for someone else
Will you send the gallant other ones, when you won’t go yourself
Are you big and brave and bad and bold
Or are you someone else?
If so then you should pray for peace
As though it’s life itself
If you think you’re not a coward,
Look your baby in his eyes
And tell him he may have to die
For someone else’s lies
When politicians and rich men
Say “Now it’s time to fight,”
That war’s the only path to take
Ask them this one, if you might:
Will you send your child to battle? If not then keep the peace
My blood’s a precious treasure, my child is not for lease.
When they pile up the bodies, and count the missing limbs
Will you wave the flag and beat the drum
And hope your child’s among them?
Each generation does this; young men still love to fight
The cost of war is high indeed, it later comes at night
The horrible nightmares that even victor’s have
The horror and the sacrifice, for which there is no salve
Will you send your child to this,
This thing that men call war?
Then count me there among you,
Where I’ll be at the fore.
But until the fight is called for, with the blood you call your own
Don’t walk tall and pick big fights, don’t take my son on loan
Seek peace, make peace, sweet peace, and choose to work it out
Will you send your child to battle? If not then count me out.
This original poem was written after reading the opening lines of the poem “The Kid Has Gone to Colors” by W.M. Herschell, which opens the documentary Chosin, available on Netflix and for sale here: CHOSIN: A Documentary Film by Brian Iglesias
Chosin is a five star, heart-wrenching look at the Americans who were nearly wiped out in the Korean War Battle of Chosin Reservoir, fought from November 27 to December 13 1950.
The original Herschell poem, written during World War I and with a much different tone, is available here.