There was a certain poor family
with a brood of children,
the newest child just days old.
The father worked night and day
just to see that they had enough to eat.
One evening upon returning home for supper
the tired father took his despair to the road
and asked the first person he met
to foster one of his children.
The first person was a soldier,
dusty from his travels but in good humor.
Will you, good sir, foster one of my children,
the child you think would best suit
you, your needs, your pursuits
to feed, clothe and raise as one of your own?
I will, stated the man.
By my side, your child will gain
skills, fame and fortune.
Who are you, gracious benefactor?
I am Ares, Champion of Zeus,
Master of Arms and protective father of many.
It will not be an easy life, for war is hell
and many will look down upon him
for times of peace erase memories quickly.
Your child will learn to move, like a dancer,
the better to avoid an enemy’s strike.
Your child will learn how to use weapons,
for both killing and defending of self and others.
Your child will learn how to feed,
supply and lead an army, not from the head,
but by getting dirty with the least of them.
Your child will learn when to force a matter
and when to leave quietly, to fight another day.
Your child will learn when to rebel
and when to uphold civil order.
Your child will learn about courage and fear,
panic and perseverance, sex and love.
Your child will learn about life and death,
the enduring love of fellow warriors and
the heartbreak of civilian distrust.
The father bowed his head, in thought.
Will you love my child?
I will love your child, but do not be mistaken,
for my love is a harsh love
and my path is a bloody one.
If your child gives me their trust and
obeys me truly and faithfully,
I will never fail to do my best for them.
That is all a father can ask.