Stanza 66


The listening lieutenant was appalled.
The standing orders that he now recalled
Required that he protect each villager
From any threat, and so the officer
Considered how he should dispatch the boy.
Yet still he felt reluctant to destroy.
He heard his captain's council in his mind
That told him how to act when he inclined
To give commands to let the bullets fly,
And so he told the seasoned sergeant, "I
Would like to hear what you can recommend."
The sergeant answered, "Sir, I would defend
The people from this hostile renegade
Who demonstrates that he is not afraid
To make such brazen threats. He's far away
From everyone, and if we wait he may
Get close enough so that his suicide
Will cause more deaths to people who reside
Within the town. I see the trigger's not
Within his hand. So, sir, I'd take the shot."