"What Are We Here For?"

by Sara

Author's note: You may notice this poem lacks punctuation and capitalization. It's intentional. This poem is something Hawkeye writes to a certain blonde nurse and sticks in her pocket on the last day of the war.

a conflict they call it
to me it is war
soldiers are dying
despite our trying
we cannot save them all
i implore that you answer me this
what are we here for

doctor we have lost him
you say
how i loathe those words
i fight for his life
but from the pain
there comes no gain
he insists on dying
despite my trying
i ask you again
what are we here for

i leave the room, almost sick
you follow close behind
doctor you tried
you say to me
not hard enough
i snap at you
you know that
some insist on dying
despite your trying
you say softly
humor me please
and just tell me
what are we here for

how we have longed for today to come
yes we are going home at last
in the operating room we hear
how many people were sent to a tomb
one million seven hundred eighty thousand
six hundred twenty nine
all were those who
insisted on dying
despite our trying
i beg you to tell me
what are we here for

If the figures in the back of the Complete Book of M*A*S*H are correct, then so is the figure 1,780,629 as the overall death toll. This poem is dedicated to my gramma and every other veteran of any war.