Little soldier, so proud you are in crimson tunic,
emerald epaulettes and matching pantaloons.
Stand tall and face bitter autumn winds
which scrape bare the once-green garden wherein once would parade
colored battalions in summer victories, too many to name.
Comrades all in crimson, pink, yellow, white
You knew them well in days of golden summer light,
But the wind; the cruel, autumn wind, must blow.
Stand tall, though lonely you face the autumn chill.
Colored tunics falter each dwindling day and
ever-lengthened shadows disguise their worth.
Summer glories seem not so long ago;
deserving they may be, reside in dusty memory.
The autumn wind may sting and tunics fade.
Courage! Do not dare waver, though lone you gaze at tearful sentry post
Wonder at crumbled leaves swirling at your feet.
Your legion comrades: where have they gone—where have they gone?
Glory—will it ever shine again?
What seems a tear is but the chilly dew
and not despair, for years of duty done will dry the eye.
The heart knows when autumn winds
whisper secrets in soldiers' ears:
"Stand at ease and take your rest."
And with crumbling leaves find lost comrades in the dust.