Our ends and deaths sit with us all the time
defining executioners and crime;
and though we try to keep them from our door,
many killings lie within the Law—
are even processed as a human chore.

Killing resonates a moral negative,
but it’s a soldier’s job to take and give:
take away the lives that try to end
the social core the soldier must defend—
and give their total being to that end.

To fight with modern martial artist’s skills
and know civilians fall within your kills
must be contemplated with compassion—
such give and take is part of heaven’s ration.


Conquest, by Edmund Blair Leighton

Damian Robin is poet living in England. He works for an international newspaper and a bilingual magazine. He lives with his wife and three children. He is winner of Second Place in The Society of Classical Poets’ 2014 Poetry Competition.

Featured Image:Conquest” by Edmund Blair Leighton (1852-1922).

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2 Responses

  1. Kenneth Kenigsberg

    The last stanza of this poem is very troublesome. It makes for the killing of innocents an excuse; more, it even makes the act commendable, admirable. The sin of murder being pictured as heroic is itself a sin.

  2. Terence Marin

    A brilliant poem!

    Kenneth, my reading was that the soldier is in a terrible position to have to, unintentionally or accidentally, kill a seemingly innocent civilian as part of his/her job. That’s the reality of warfare, especially modern warfare. So, you try your very best to do your job well yet you have done something horrible and in humane. What horror for the soldier! We should have the compassion for the soldier who’s put in that position on our behalf. Hats off to the poet.


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