Colin F. Jones
Well I know he was happy with a wife and a child
I know he was looking forward to seeing them again,
But when the guns stopped firing just for a while
And the cordite smoke cleared we knew he was slain.
Lead butterflies steel gnats and hot fly’s flew,
Bloody winds horror gusts and harsh cries grew,
Under sandbag umbrellas, canvas, and in mud,
Some alive some dead some bathed in blood.
Trenches shallow and deep where young men perished
Clinging to rifles and photos of those they cherished.
Disfigured and ugly sweet faces all bloodied
While survivors in shock groped helpless and muddied.
And we remember and cry for we still don’t know why;
As we age and become old and unknowing we die.
~ 2 ~
His veteran’s obdurate heart precedes him,
A granitic disposition due to suppressed pain;
The cringing shadow lurking deep within,
Where the demon of his memory makes its claim.
He has no will to harm those he most loves,
Yet his pain is theirs he shares it with regret,
Hawks from his soul pursuing tender Doves,
The taste of which in anguish he can’t forget.
For each day in knowledge of his sins he frets
Hand’s to his demons the error of his way,
As they torment him the more disturbed he gets,
The daunting cycle dominating his long day;
No sympathy exists for undisclosed regrets.
Respite is not a condition of his dismay.
~ 3 ~
Wherefrom come dreams that torment, or are suppressed,
By fear to dream them lest they cause one pain;
That sleep is lost lest the Demons are addressed,
Though losing sleep from fear reaps no gain.
Some learn to sleep that they don’t dream at all,
But then their anger boils out of control,
And those close by are those caught in the squall,
That boomerangs to circumvent the soul.
Understanding is required a measure of one’s love,
Tolerance alone drives not the devils away,
One hand is bare the other must wear a glove,
For when the demons sleep love will have its way.
Yet some who are alone and no longer pray,
Lose what they are in the lane-ways where they stray.
~ 4 ~
It moves among the expectant and untried,
It seems because they all have worn the green,
It is in the eyes of those whose comrades died
And in the hearts of those who’ve not yet been.
Murder they did and some were murdered by,
Those doing the killing for those in high command,
Who in their own hearts must ask themselves why,
They feel for doing what they do so grand.
Tis a harsh virus that slaughters men so fresh and young,
For the old men are but veterans who survived,
When they across the battlefields were so strung,
In other wars with free thought so deprived.
But the disease is claimed a cure when germed from good,
In the minds of the men who shed no sweat or blood.
~ 5 ~
They speak of honour; they speak of sacrifice!
They build monuments to the Generals and the Kings;
They state that freedom has a worthwhile Price,
To justify the pain and anguish that war brings.
But soldiers do not sacrifice themselves in war,
They die while fighting just to stay alive,
Most do not know what they are fighting for,
And do their best in combat to survive.
Dead heroes are just dead men sacrificed,
By those who calculate the numbers they could lose.
And by those folk back home who seem surprised,
Who did not stand up and say “Well, I refuse”.
Sometimes its truth sometimes it’s blatant lies,
But always it’s the people who must choose.
~ 6 ~
Shadows, ghosts, creep through the hollow house,
Grey shapes of him sit on the kitchen chairs,
She is silent; more silent than a mouse,
She’s not alone for all that he was she shares.
She heard not his cry, nor did she feel his pain,
As he cannot feel the constant pain she bears.
All she has left, is his family name,
And she knows that there are few who really care.
All things become a problem; simple things,
Her children become a burden not a joy.
She finds false friends, to whom she passionately clings,
Becoming a victim to the wiles they employ.
The sacrifice does not end on the battle field;
Much pain is hidden behind the scarlet shield.
~ 7 ~
What good is that man now who went to war?
And lost his life though boldly he did fight,
What has he done to those by what he saw
Who came home a different man with inner plight?
The violence never ends with real peace,
You cannot kill and maim without effect,
In the mind the slaughter does not seem to cease,
One cannot from wars cockpit just eject.
How can he share what he does not understand?
How can he tell his loved one how he feels?
It seems to her a constant harsh demand,
For tolerance of a wound that does not heal.
Inside he weeps for he can’t say every day,
That he’s sorry for the rage he can’t conceal.
~ 8 ~
Why are feelings dulled or somehow lost for good,
In soldiers who return from battle grounds,
Who somehow cannot feel what they should,
And fear crowds and certain sorts of sounds.
Why are they so remote impatient folk?
Who cannot wait to hear a sentence end.
Who can with veterans share a funny joke,
But do not laugh at the jokes of civilian friends.
They can feel sadness deep and feel regret,
They feel guilty for the feelings they endure,
From the demons they have never met,
That come from bad memories of their war.
Venturing into dreams to cast their net,
Enclosing in their hearts the atrocities they saw.
~ 9 ~
They’ll not cry out, as they did, those who were slain,
They’ll simply suffer holding it inside,
Until it leaks out like a sudden flame,
Burning those they love whom they deride.
Some wives distressed will leave and say goodbye,
Some of their children will seek suicide,
Some will be more determined and will try,
To remain with love at their husbands side.
Those left alone will make their way through life,
Stumbling from one obstacle to another,
Some will deteriorate into greater strife,
Some a good reason for living will discover.
In time they will all just pass away…
For new soldiers are marching to war today.
©Copyright July 22, 2009 by Colin F. Jones