You left, as I recall, to sounds of pomp and circumstance, To fight the noble fight, you said, one must set sail for France, I waved to you goodbye but as a boy I could not see, What all the foreign fighting had to do with you and me. We lit for you a candle, which burned bright through night and day, And kept you always in our hearts though you were far away, But when the letter told us you were never coming back, We didn’t visit church again, your candle paled to black. Now after that, the day of days, in hope I was alone, Unbowed, I lit a flame myself that I might bring you home, This flame was not a candle but a fire that pierced the night, Beside the pyre I sat in vain awaiting any sight. I did not understand why you would not come back to play, And though our mother tried to try no words that she could say, Would stop the sense of certainty from forming in my mind, That some day you’d come back to me, so leaving France behind. An old man now I’ve seen at last just why you kept away, But still I come to build my fire to set the sky ablaze, I wish that I’d been by your side to face the horror too, Because you and I were brothers and that’s what brothers do.