I WAS a boy when I heard three red words
A thousand Frenchmen died in the streets
For: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity—I asked
Why men die for words.

I was older; men with mustaches, sideburns,
Lilacs, told me the high golden words are:
Mother, Home, and Heaven—other older men with
Face decorations said: God, Duty, Immortality
ВЂ”they sang these threes slow from deep lungs.

Years ticked off their say-so on the great clocks
Of doom and damnation, soup and nuts: meteors flashed
Their say-so: and out of great Russia came three
Dusky syllables workmen took guns and went out to die
For: Bread, Peace, Land.

And I met a marine of the U. S. A., a leatherneck with a girl on his knee for a memory in ports circling the earth and he said: Tell me how to say three things and I always get by—gimme a plate of ham and eggs—how much? —and—do you love me, kid?

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