Gary Jacobson

SCARS OF BATTLE

Whether outward or hidden deep within, scars of Battle
Young prince’s humanity belittle
Memories with a soldier’s heart congeal
Battle fatigue endowed, so slow to heal
He would die of it, PTSD, this indolent pain
Frequent as the monsoon rain.

PTSD wreaks mortal virtue’s culpability
Vile affront to moral sensibility
Patriotism lost in war’s measure
Lost to boyhood’s innocence a valued treasure
Ridden with ravaging guilt. By indulgent war tossed
Crossed with violence cherished hatred’s accost.

The scars of Battle, the purgatory of the belligerent
Wounds the pugnacious militant
Footprints tearing rice paddies into ribbons
Boots wielding ethics of warrior barons
Permeating ideals and standards from souls torn
Fostering forever fears in darkening jungle reborn.

Frail mortals to this warrior beast yield
Mired in war’s dreadful killing field
Life principles changed by it…rearranged by it
Devalued where men go, to find the bellicose foe.
Humping the nevermore breach of hell
To a place come to know quite well.

Fly, oh fly, with the wolf pack’s zeal
Beside imminent danger surreal, grotesquely real
Vanish into a century of rumor
Threatening to rob all good humor
With life on the line disregarding
With war-weapons the gentle frightening.

Lock and load machinations of destruction
Prepare yourself for coming conflagration
Steel yourself with fury borne too great to blame
Ride headlong into a storm’s motley ire insane
Roughing leafy domes of rogue trees to tame
Hillocks of gnarled wood ruckus fire and flame.

The scars of Battle bring bragging rites of passage
To warriors the permanent badge of courage
Patriotism’s ultimate visible baggage
The indelible sign of the brave fight
Tokens of the flexing of youthful might
Inscriptions gained in times of horrendous fright.

Shiver the lost boys awake
Prime these warriors with the breath of violence to partake
Shaken pawns in the pre-dawn of the hunt
Just a tare, this combat infantry grunt
Living outside time in the shadow of the body
Making war with ribald brothers both good and bawdy.

Listen to the warrior rites and rituals
Sing songs around the foxhole of tempestuous residuals
Hump on the shadowy side of sunset
March out of the closet of cruel war beset
Remember brothers who lie on the cold, cold ground
Mid fire and fleet and candle-light. Without a sound.