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March of the Wooden Soldiers, a Poem

John is passionate about human and animal rights, social justice, equality, and the environment, and likes to convey that in his writing.

By Jcbutler at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain,

By Jcbutler at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain,

March of the Wooden Soldiers

The wooden soldiers stand in line,

Straight and tall and proud,

Painted uniforms so smart,

Marching for the crowd.


Rifles propped on shoulders,

Spotted eyes stare straight ahead,

Obeying higher orders

That keeps them all in stead.


No questions, doubt, or protest

About their rigid role,

Just marching to a common beat,

A military drum roll.


But wooden soldiers cannot think,

Their heads are made of pine.

They’re prisoners, forever cursed

To always march in time.

Marching for the crowd

Marching for the crowd

Don’t be a wooden soldier,

Blindly follow what you’re told.

You have the power of reason

So bring that to the fold.


Use free will and common sense

To choose what’s right or wrong.

Don’t be a soldier in a line

Marching to a boring song.


Each one of us can change the world

If we’re brave and fight for peace.

There’s no problem that can’t be fixed

If greed and hatred cease.


So, wooden soldiers have their place

But they really are just toys,

Following strict orders,

Controlled by little boys.

Wooden Toy Soldiers

Wooden Toy Soldiers

Inspiration For the Poem

The inspiration for this poem came from the Laurel and Hardy (collection) DVD I received as a Christmas gift. One of the film titles is March of the Wooden Soldiers.

The story is set in Toyland which is inhabited by Mother Goose and other popular fairy tale characters. Laurel and Hardy play Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee and live in a shoe owned by the evil Silas Barnaby who wishes to marry Bo Peep. Our heroes try to borrow money from the Toymaker so they can pay off the mortgage on the shoe and keep Little Bo Peep from Barnaby's evil clutches.

The film is a lot of slapstick type fun.

© 2019 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on February 11, 2019:

Hey, Lawrence. I appreciate you reading and commenting. It is a big decision for a soldier to disobey orders they feel are wrong. That's the point though, never be a wooden soldier.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on February 11, 2019:

John

Enjoyed the poem.

On my latest article I put a YouTube presentation about ten soldiers who disobeyed orders and got medals for doing so!

Never be a 'wooden' soldier!

Blessings

Lawrence

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 20, 2019:

Thank you Flourish, it doesn’t really matter what side of the political divide you are on, this still applies. I appreciate your comment,

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 20, 2019:

I like that you included your source of inspiration for this. A good message for followers of all types.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 20, 2019:

Sean, you humble me that you share my poetry in your classroom with your students. I am proud to call you my “friend.” Thank you.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on January 20, 2019:

"Each one of us can change the world

If we’re brave and fight for peace.

There’s no problem that can’t be fixed

If greed and hatred cease."

A new quote for my classroom! Thank you for this great poem, my brother John. You know, my students love your poetry! You speak to the Heart! I am proud to tell them that you are my friend, though I've never met you! It is a little magical for them. Ha! Ha!

Love keeps us together!

Sean

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 20, 2019:

Yes, you are right Devika. Thanks for reading.

DDE on January 20, 2019:

Interesting about how leaders tend to behave these days.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 17, 2019:

Haha Jo, that is true the military wants everyone to obey without question. Thanks for reading.

Jo Miller from Tennessee on January 17, 2019:

Wonderful poem, John. In the military, though, this type of thinking might not go over so well.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 14, 2019:

Thank you Devika. If only those leader would heed this message.

DDE on January 14, 2019:

A powerful message to those who choose to lead. Loved it!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 14, 2019:

Thank you, Alyssa. Maybe I need to put the message at the end so people read all the way through lol. Cheers.

Alyssa from Ohio on January 14, 2019:

I love that you started with a simple idea and then revealed the deeper message. A great one, that continues to be relevant within each generation. Excellent poem!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 13, 2019:

MsDora, I am glad that I succeed in getting my intended message/lesson across. I hope some of those who need to get to read it. Thank you for your generous comment.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 12, 2019:

Jodah, so many lessons to gain from your poem! Both leaders and followers see themselves in this powerful, poetic presentation. Thanks.

PoetikalyAnointed on January 12, 2019:

Yes it is.

That make folks feel Patriotic and " responsible" for their country only to mess their lives completely up to the most part.

Thanks for this!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 12, 2019:

PoetikalyAnointed, thank you! You make a good point about Frats/Sororities putting prospective members through humiliating initiations to be accepted. That is an extreme example of what the government often tries to do to the people in more subtle ways.

PoetikalyAnointed on January 12, 2019:

Now this...this is Poetry!

It's truth, though ugly. So many are little wooden soldiers being controlled by little boys, molding them into toys!

Side note: I'd often wonder why folks pledging for Frats/Sororities and Service People have to be hazed/belittled/broken/humiliated to be apart of something prestigious and respectful....it's easier to control a people when they have been broken and feared into conformity. Sad...and NO disrespect to those I've mentioned...

I just feel like one shouldn't have to be broken and re-made if they are Worthy and Respected at the gate!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 12, 2019:

Verlie, thanks for the kind and insightful comment. So glad you enjoyed this.

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on January 12, 2019:

John, I appreciate where you take the reader with this seemingly innocent piece, good job making the connection between boyhood toys, and the marching of real soldiers to war, under control of boyish minds. and the irony in that. Nice presentation, great visuals.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 12, 2019:

Thank you for reading Bill. Haha wooden head..so true.

Bill Russo from Cape Cod on January 12, 2019:

Love it John. Don't be a wooden head like mindless sheep. Great work as per usual.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 12, 2019:

The movie is a lot of fun, Rinita. Thank you for reading and your generous comment in regard to the poem. You are always appreciated.

Rinita Sen on January 12, 2019:

That sounds like a fun movie, and your poem is as real as it gets. Towards the end (controlled by little boys) could mean so much in today's society. Always great to read your 'reminder' poems presented in a mellifluous way.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2019:

Yes, Mary, that is the military way, and also the way of many of our Governments. Thanks for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2019:

Hi, Shauna. Always a pleasure to see your comments. You got it, that's the message. Laurel and Hardy are still hilarious after all these years.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2019:

Thank you, Marlene, I appreciate you reading this and commenting. I always try to weave some sort of message into my poetry.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 11, 2019:

" Do what you're told" is what I remember military men say. I a happy I am not in that. You are right. We can't live like that.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on January 11, 2019:

Great message in this poem, John: be a doer, not a follower.

I used to watch Laurel and Hardy when I was little. I haven't seen them in decades!

Marlene Bertrand from USA on January 11, 2019:

An entertaining poem with an amazing lesson. I truly enjoyed reading it.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2019:

Yes, Paul, I agree that we need to take a stand against politicism too. Politicians have moved too far away from representing the best interests of the people as a whole..favouring the big corporations and the already wealthy.,

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2019:

Thank you Linda. I can’t get that image out of my head lol. Little boys shouldn’t be allowed to play with toys that are above their age group..they can be dangerous.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2019:

Thank you Eric. I always appreciate your comments and glad you enjoyed this.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2019:

Thanks Liz. Yes, by all means dig out that Laurel and Hardy collection. They can be watched and enjoyed over and over.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2019:

Elijah, thank you for the positive comment, as well as sharing your own personal story. You certainly are a thinking individual and not a wooden soldier, that is for sure.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2019:

Thank you Bill. I love slapstick too..Keaton, Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Three Stooges, Abbot and Costello. I hope you enjoy this film.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2019:

Mr Happy thank you for sharing Oden’s Gift lol that was funny. Yes, it is night here. Oh and you are so right “common” and sense don’t always go together.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2019:

Thank you Ann. Little boys and their toys who never grow up.

Paul Neglia from Poughkeepsie, NY USA on January 11, 2019:

Free will and common sense should always prevail, although i must say, my favorite scene from the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is the wooden soldiers. I think against politicism in general its time to take a stand, too bad some of us never fall out of line. Nice work John

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on January 11, 2019:

John a simple, perfectly constructed poem on a very timely topic. I could not help but think of the tantrum-tossing potentate in the Oval Office playing with his toys.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 11, 2019:

Friend I just love this. Such a wonderful backdrop for such a great lesson. While failing is par for the course -- I try not to be one.

This mightily reminded me of this // one tin soldier original caste youtube //

Thank you friend.

Liz Westwood from UK on January 11, 2019:

Another thought-provoking poem. You have also reminded me that my husband was given a Laurel and Hardy collection a few years ago. We should dig it out and rewatch it.

Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on January 11, 2019:

John, Thanks for that presentation, it couldn't have been said any other way. That is what schools are designed to do is why children, especially in the US, must began being schooled at your years old. We now have one of those "little boys" controlling our military and, I suspect, nearly half of the general population.

It reminded me of why I never retired from the U.S. Air Force. I was a 1 & 2 engine fighter jet mechanic in Phu Cat, Vietnam and had grounded my jet because a panel wasn't properly secured but my Sgt. wanted it flight ready. Just before the end of the shift he ordered me to unground it and I did and he over signed in agreement. On takeoff the panel blew off and caused two bombs to prematurely fall at the end of the runway.

The next day the 1st Sgt. demanded to know why I obeyed my Sgt. since I was its crew chief whose word is law. I told I told him how in Basic Training it was drilled into us "ours is not to reason why, ours is to do and die" which over rode my crew chief status.

In the 60s we were not given nor shown the Uniform Code of Military Justice which states "one can be Court Marshaled for obeying a Unlawful Order" so they gave an Honorable Discharge under medical conditions. I wasn't a "wooden soldier", I was a thinking individual.

Thanks again, it was very well done and a reminder of why I think so different from most people.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 11, 2019:

Loved the poetry and now I must see that film. Thanks for the recommendation. I'm into slapstick for sure!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2019:

Thank you Clive.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on January 11, 2019:

That's a cool little poem.

I am terrible with poetry. Ohh, hold on I got something to share. Gotta find it lol

"Ever since then, we know that those people who can make magic with their words, who can make poems and sagas and weave tales, have tasted the mead of poetry. When we hear a fine poet, we say that they have tasted Odin's gift... Here is the last thing, and a shameful admission it is. When the all-father in eagle form had almost reached the vats, with Suttung immediately behind him, Odin blew some mead out of his behind, a splattery wet fart of foul-smelling mead right in Suttung's face, blinding the giant and throwing off Odin's trail.

No one, then or now, wanted to drink the mead that came out of Odin's ass. But whenever you hear bad poets declaiming their poetry, filled with foolish similies and ugly rhymes, you will know which of the meads they have tasted." - Gaiman Neil, "Norse Mythology", London, W.W. Norton & Company Independent Publishers, 2017.

So, I do not write poetry because when I do, it is rather clear that the mead I drank was out of Odin's ass. On the other hand, I loved the rhymes in your poem and the clarity of it. While reading poetry, I often get lost in metaphors and feel like Alice in Wonderland: no clue what's going on. Not here though and I appreciate that.

"Use free will and common sense" - The more I think about it, the more I am inclined to say that there is no common sense. Or, it's definitely not "common". Some people may have it but not many.

Well, that was nice to start the day with. I'm off to breakfast. Thank You for your poem and enjoy what is left of your day. Perhaps I should say: good night! (Should be close to night in Australia probably lol)

Ann Carr from SW England on January 11, 2019:

'Controlled by little boys' indeed! Trouble is, they think they're big macho men.

Great message and a superb delivery, John.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on January 11, 2019:

i like the meaning.