Grey Eagle


I lay sleeping – a peaceful sleep. My dreams are pleasant and my breathing even.

Gradually grey shadows filter into my dreams; grey silent shadows that slip into my mind on little cat’s feet, unheard but present; dark malevolent form that cause my breathing to quicken. Even in sleep I am alert to the slightest sound, the slightest change in the shadows.

How many times have my nights been like this – both now and before? How many times must I listen for the click of a rifle going on full cock? How many times must I listen to the whump of the mortars as they leave the tubes? Can someone please tell me how many more cries of pain must I endure before I sleep peacefully?

I tense and am ready, all senses attuned to the sounds and feel of the jungle; my ears straining for the slightest sound; my eyes searching for the slightest movement – the slightest variance in the shadows; my nostrils flared for gather the slightest smell that does not belong.

Every muscle is tensed. My breathing, while quickened, has become almost silent. I am ready to kill – silently, quietly and with no malice.

As I await my fate I hear a dim voice that is as soft and sweet as an angel’s, the words melodic and comforting. I feel a touch as light as a feather on my arm. The touch reassures me. As my mind leaves this terrible place I open my eyes to look into the soft brown eyes of my wife who is crying and saying, “It’s all right, you are home. You are safe. You don’t have to be afraid, I’m here.”

As I look into her eyes I see fear, not of me, but rather for me as she wonders how much longer I have to pay my price – as she wonders how much more I can endure.

She touches my lips with her fingertips. She wipes the tears from my eyes. She lightly brushes her lips over mine and says quite simply and yet with her whole being, “I love you.”

Once again this magnificent woman has brought me home again with just a simple touch and three little words. Once again my world is safe and secure, and once again I am stunned at the power that the touch and the voice of this woman hold.

Her touch – her voice can erase the scars and fears of war, if only for a few moments. Once again my dreams are peaceful as she holds me tight against the dark, foreboding shadows of my mind. As I drift off to sleep again, I hear these words again, “Sleep my love. I love you.”