Nancy L. Meek

BEHIND THOSE EYES
A poem about our soldiers fighting and dying overseas…

With the weight of too many futures on their shoulders,
as loved ones waved farewell to their departing planes
or just stood weeping, watching them sail from view,
what were our soldiers thinking behind those panes?

What quarantined thoughts lay behind those eyes,
those well-trained pupils taught to suppress emotion,
as, steeled-for-war, they survived the good-byes
turning their eyes to brothers over the ocean?

What were they thinking as they stormed across Iraq
as arid miles and frazzled days of blinding sand
and little sleep crawled its way up their weary backs;
What were they thinking, these warriors on command?

With strategic missions to stop a tyrant’s heinous crimes,
with enemy forces hoping to blow them to kingdom come,
as blood gushed daily in street fights rising over time,
what were they thinking, or were they simply growing numb?

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: October 14, 2004
Awarded: October 14, 2004
What went on behind those frozen eyes and stoic faces…
hope that from more attacks the enemy would refrain
so they could all go “home sweet home”… of all places?
What were they thinking; they might resume their lives again?

With the desperate need for allies just a fantasy affair,
what were they thinking as they learned the bitter truth…
there were no weapons of mass destruction hiding there
all their exhaustive efforts providing no proof?

With their tours of duty over, eager to be going home,
where loved ones waited, anxious for that special day
when loving “arms” would replace the bombs they’ve known,
what were they thinking when they were ordered to stay?

What were they thinking as the fatalities were miscounted,
as comrades were finally buried without a sign of their chief,
as one-by-one, the number of dead and wounded mounted
as war pre-emptive grew more defensive with no relief?

What were they thinking when they thought nobody could see
their hearts leaking down their cheeks… in a final good-bye
to their buddy, who lost his life just trying to set some free
from those terrorist bastards? God, what were they thinking?

With the weight of too many futures on their shoulders,
what elusive dream do they cling to behind those eyes
as hungry children smile and wave… in awe of soldiers
tossing sweets; while down the street, another victim dies?