The Tale of the Sergeant and his Men

“Raise your right hand,” cried the sergeant
who stood facing the squad,
They complied immediately
but only to invite his wrath.

“You raise your left, when I say right,” he angrily exclaimed,
“I see that you haven’t been, properly trained.
The right is what you use
to lift a heavy load
and write your will and shoot and kill,
the right is what controls.”

“So, raise your right hand,” he yelled again
and the men conformed once more,
Only to be chided by the sergeant
for raising the left, second time in a row.

By now he was sure
They had been playing a trick,
Unaware that soldiers
couldn’t dare to be mavericks.

“The third time round,” he affirmed
“if you do not do as I say
Be rest assured young men,
A heavy price you’ll have to pay!”

“So, raise your right hand,” he said and opened his eyes wide,
When a young soldier from the squad
Chose to step aside.

This made the sergeant almost lose his mind,
As he announced that those who raised their left hand
Will now be heavily fined.

The young lad on the side
dismally shook his head,
And requested the sergeant
to turn around instead.
Skeptically though, the sergeant did agree
Moving to the other end, eventually.

The entire lot of boys now shifted to the northern end
and to the south the sergeant himself went.
“I order you to raise your right hand,” said he
With an offensive air of superiority.

The soldiers soon raised the right in all earnestness
For him to screech again,
“You understand a little less.”
And thus the exercise
stretched through the night,
For the foolish sergeant couldn’t make out,
that his left was their right!
And vice versa also was very much true,
But to agree with their right
He needed to step into their shoe.

And so, to each who must think, there’s always only one side
The tale of the sergeant and his men standing through the night,
Is a gentle reminder of the fact that

left can also be “right”!

-Sonia Dogra

(All rights reserved)

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