High walls, and armed men
Issuing out commands,
Armed men whose heart are cold.
We, like prisoners on white, and
Under spell, blinded by dedication,
Sauntering here and there
Haunted by the voices that command
And the trumpet that wakes us.
Darkness became our companion,
Boys stumbling and fumbling.
And the girls:
Many always don’t bath,
Smelling like sleep cut-short, and fatigue.
Yet they always double-up, for
If you are walking, you are wrong
If you are seated, you,re on your own.
If you have been there,
If you’ve worn that khaki that does not fit,
If you’ve been made to sleep late,
If you’ve been made to wake early,
If ever your life have been regimented,
And subjected to a routine,
If you’ve been fed a tasteless jell-of-rice,
Or a watery soup,
If ever you’ve queued up for food,
You’d probably know how pathetic,
How demeaning and dehumanising
It is to be a beggar, and you
Might be touched if you see
A real one, haggard and hungry
Lying on the street side,
Your heart might go out to
A hungry-stricken hand waving for alms.
When the hen beckons,
The chicks quickly saunter around her.
It’s our service to our nation:
A call we can’t resist;
We think of what we can offer,
And not what can be offered us.
But If you could listen to our heartbeats
Hoarding love and spilling blood,
Pounding under the sun or in the rain
Or the crack of our stress-beaten backs
Or our rioting stomach;
If you could imagine serving an adult
Little food meant for children,
You’d probably quickly stop your ears
To the clarion call!