poem by Stephen Vincent Benét
(1898-1943), American poet and writer. Benét, much like Jules Verne
, was a fan of science fiction
almost before there was such a thing. Like Verne, he has visions that either by accident or by insight
do not fly into realms that are brilliant and completely wrong
but tie into the real world, leaving even some modern readers to wonder: "How did he know?
Song for Three Soldiers
was among Benét's late works, as such a kind of companion to his short story By The Waters Of Babylon*
. My searches say that the poem is found online in two places in total. That won't do
Oh, where are you coming from, soldier, fine soldier,
In your dandy new uniform, all spick and span
With your helmeted head and the gun on your shoulder
Where are you coming from, gallant young man?
I come from the war that was yesterday's trouble,
I come with the bullet still blunt in my breast;
Though long was the battle and bitter the struggle,
Yet I fought with the bravest, I fought with the best.
Oh, where are you coming from, soldier, tall, soldier,
and everything new,
And a face that might well have been carved from a boulder,
Where are you coming from, now tell me true!
My harness is novel, my uniform other
Than any gay uniform people have seen,
Yet I am your future and I am your brother
And I am the battle that has not yet been.
Oh, where are you coming from, soldier, gaunt soldier,
With weapons beyond any reach of my mind
With weapons so deadly the world must grow older
And die in its tracks, if it does not turn kind?
Stand out of my way and be silent before me!
For none shall come after me, foeman or friend,
Since the seed of your seed called me out to employ me,
And that was the longest, and that was the end.