It’s rather an unassuming place
To shelter the best of the human race:
A sharp pair of ears, or a nervous face.

It’s quite an inopportune time to learn
The manifold ways a man can burn—
But you’re young, and taught to wait your turn.

It’s easy for these things to leave their mark.
It’s always been less of a walk in the park
Than a blind sort of stumble, a shot in the dark.

It’s the constant vision, vivid as chrome:
A hundred souls bleeding, their mouths frothing foam,
And you can go back but you cannot go home.

It’s not just a question of what you know,
But how many lives it can save; and so
You’re poised on the tip of your tongue, your toe.

It’s only for you to manage affairs,
To look in the face of death as it stares,
To hear, and to never be caught unawares.

So it’s one step ahead, one second before,
An uncanny knack for predicting the score,
Making a farm boy a man of war.