Carl Sandburg

Forgotten Wars

Be loose. Be easy. Be ready.
Forget the last war.
Forget the one before.
Forget the one yet to come.

Be loose and easy about the wars
whether they have been fought
or whether yet to be fought —
be ready to forget them.

Who was saying at high noon today:
‘Is not each of them a forgotten war
after it is fought and over?
how and why it came forgotten?
how and what cost forgotten?
and was he there at Iwo Jima, Okinawa
or places named Cassino, Anzio, the Bulge?'
and saying now:
‘Let the next war before it comes
and before it gets under way
and five or six days sees it finish
or fifty years sees it still going strong
— let it be now a forgotten war.
      Be ready now to forget it.
      Be loose, be easy now.
The next war goes over in a flash — or runs along.’