The Mechanical Boy Soldier Wakes from an Amazing Dream

Sleeping, he finds himself
Trapped in a maze
As if in a bad dream
Droning in his child’s ears
In the middle of a long night.
Frantic, desperately seeking exit
From this recurring nightmare
Of terrifying sleep. Freedom?
Traps and fears ride one horse,
Said the mechanical soldier to the boy.
Look at me, stiff and inflexible,
Following the same pattern every time
You wind me up. I march blindly,
Gladly to my death on cue.
But I never really die.
I march for you my masters
Again and again. You hold the key.
And that maze that seems to trap you
Is only the spell cast by those
Who made me, not in your image,
But in the mold of their own hands
Stiffened by years of servitude
To a God who binds them
Of their own accord. The God of death.

Unwind yourself.

And Mechanical Mikey faded with the years,
But his message followed the boy to manhood
Flowing under the surface movements of a model son,
Stiffened into rectitude and the dutiful demeanor
Of a Marine. He had become a killer of his own will.
But then they marched him like Mechanical Mikey,
And in that reversal of the roles of childhood
Mikey’s words merged to become a torrent,
Forcing their way through every labyrinthine lane
Set to trap him in its twisted tale of dreadful death,
The manly myth that says: “My rifle is my life.”
Unbound, unwound he went freely forth to see,
To see with burning eyes a strange new light
That almost struck him blind in dazed delight.

He found himself riding the high-flung back
Of a voluptuous sea horse, throwing traps and fears
To the whirling wind, holding on for dear life
As the voice from the whirlwind whistled a dirge
For Mikey who had died, dead of mechanical heart
Failure, having been choked to death. Lazarus,
having emerged from the peace of oblivion,
Knew he was destined for the awful task of living
Freely, listening to the spirit call its will across the deep,
Drawing him out of the maze into a dazzling new day.
So he rose, went forth into a throbbing warm world,
A place he had denied for far too many years,
Where no dead soldier craves a parent’s tears.

Edward Curtin writes and his work appears widely. He is the author of Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies. Read other articles by Edward, or visit Edward's website.