Russ Vaughan has written an excellent essay, elaborating on his powerful poem that was inspired by the Toles cartoon so many found so offensive. In it he links to another poem of his that I had never seen before, though it was widely distributed. The last line brings tears to my eyes.
To my beloved sheepdogs for whom caring for the sheep is your calling: I never forget to whom I owe the opportunity to live the quiet life of the sheep that I am. You inspire my undying love and gratitude...
Most humans truly are like sheep
Wanting nothing more than peace to keep
To graze, grow fat and raise their young,
Sweet taste of clover on the tongue.
Their lives serene upon Life's farm,
They sense no threat nor fear no harm.
On verdant meadows, they forage free
With naught to fear, with naught to flee.
They pay their sheepdogs little heed
For there is no threat; there is no need.
To the flock, sheepdog's are mysteries,
Roaming watchful round the peripheries.
These fang-toothed creatures bark, they roar
With the fetid reek of the carnivore,
Too like the wolf of legends told,
To be amongst our docile fold.
Who needs sheepdogs? What good are they?"
They have no use, not in this day.
Lock them away, out of our sight
We have no need of their fierce might.
But sudden in their midst a beast
Has come to kill, has come to feast
The wolves attack; they give no warning
Upon that calm September morning
They slash and kill with frenzied glee
Their passive helpless enemy
Who had no clue the wolves were there
Far roaming from their Eastern lair.
Then from the carnage, from the rout,
Comes the cry, "Turn the sheepdogs out!"
Thus is our nature but too our plight
To keep our dogs on leashes tight
And live a life of illusive bliss
Hearing not the beast, his growl, his hiss.
Until he has us by the throat,
We pay no heed; we take no note.
Not until he strikes us at our core
Will we unleash the Dogs of War
Only having felt the wolf pack's wrath
Do we loose the sheepdogs on its path.
And the wolves will learn what we've shown before;Russ Vaughn
We love our sheep, we Dogs of War.
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division