Stanza 150


The colonel asked, "How many townfolk died?"
"I do not know," his officer replied.
"I estimate that at the very least
My scouts killed fifty men and the deceased
Are joined by wounded casualties as well.
If they had not been eager to compel
Us to attack to force them to release
The gunner, we might have preserved the peace.
I almost wish I had allowed them to
Retain the body, rather than to view
So many villagers killed by marines."
The colonel then responded, "If the means
Exist to save a man as in this case,
You should not bring the others back to base
Until you have recovered him alive
Or dead. Do not let anyone deprive
You of a man no matter who is right.
The villagers must know that we will fight
If they are willing to use violence
And treat us with such gross intolerance."