Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bruin Bear

"The US military is developing a robot with a teddy bear-style head to help carry injured soldiers away from the battlefield."

Once I was a teddy bear made out of velveteen.
Now I’m a military robot, stainless steel machine
to carry wounded soldiers from the trenches and redoubts.
I’m called “Bruin Bear”, the rescue ‘bot. Bruin Bear will get ‘em out.

When shells are falling from the sky to churn the earth to muck
or bombs explode and leave the men trapped under burning trucks
or crossfire pins a unit down with enemies all about
the casualties need have no fear: Bruin Bear will get ‘em out.

When little Joe was three years old, I was his favorite toy.
At eight, he dropped me and went off to play at soldier-boy.
And now he’s gone to war for real, I hear the sergeant shout:
“Joe’s been shot down, he’s trapped! Bruin Bear, go get ‘im out!”

Delirious with shock and pain, he clutches at my chest
with bloody shattered hands. “Oh, Bruin Bear, you’re the best.
I wasn’t frightened under fire, I never had no doubt
whatever happened, I’d be saved. Bruin Bear would get me out.”

His scarlet life is leaking down my stainless steel limbs
the medic’s running toward us, but it’s far too late for him.
My metal ears alone will hear the last words from his mouth:
“Don’t cry, you poor thing, it’s all right. Bruin Bear, you got me out.”

with thanks to Simon Green and Rudyard Kipling

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