The author of this poem is unknown; Chris Lyon has edited it. Chris Lyon is a young Marine who has already fought in Fallujah, Iraq, and will going back to Iraq next year.
The Marine stood and faced his God
Which must always come to pass . . .
He hoped his shoes shone brightly,
As all his spit-shined brass.
"Step forward, now, my Warrior . . .
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned that oft-scarred cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"
The Warrior squared his frame and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
For those of us as carry guns,
Can't always be a saint."
"I've had to work most Sundays,
At times my talk was tough . . .
And sometimes I've been violent,
For the World is awful rough."
"But . . . I never took a penny,
As wasn't mine to keep . . .
I've worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills just got too steep."
"I never asked a man for help,
Though I often shook with fear . . .
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears."
"I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears."
A silence fell around the Throne,
Where saints and angels trod . . .
The Marine, in silent splendor,
Awaited judgment from his God.
"Step forward, now, My warrior,
You've borne your crosses well . . .
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets . . .
You've done your time in Hell."