Nancy L. Meek


The soldier stands a lonely watch
As the winds flow softly around him
The war falling somehow silent behind him
Its angry din rustling the very pages of time

His gun is at-the-ready, still he dreams
As the leaves turn over slowly in his mind
Scenes from the past… all the bitter sorrows
The imagined tomorrows at this story’s end

A quiet glen invades his brain with no remorse
With a moonlit river on a warm summer’s eve
Days filled with laughter… bright, pure and clean
Devoid of the horrors his eyes have seen

With no reprieve, the images flow ethereal
Constant reminders of the way life used to be
Unmarred by war’s unsanctified demolition
Destroying any hope of one man’s dream

Can he ever go back to the beginning of time
Rip the pages of war from the splines of life’s tome
Return home the man his loved ones used to know
Before his dreams were dashed against the shore?

The smell of napalm leeches through the trees
Embedding into his nostrils the rancid odor of war
The finger of fate scribing his final hoary ending
Its bloody nail, silent, deadly, and inside, he screams

Suffer the little children for the sins of the fathers
Perpetuating the same old-yet-new acts of yore
Ever-fighting… freshly dying for a brighter tomorrow
With no way out in sight to stop the circle of sorrow

Standing on the summit, eons pass before his eyes
Former missions embed their teeth into his history
While monolithic conundrums refuse to subside
With each battle climax only agitating the mystery

What of tomorrow… he wonders… will he survive?
Will duty and honor be enough to withstand the day
This hour… this minute… this second… or will he die
Watching his dream rush the blazing sun far away

Will his family know him when and if he returns?
What gifts of war will he bring his unborn children?
Can he lift the pieces of his life from the battle floor
Put them all back together to continue on as before?

Or will he forever be changed, standing a lone watch
Waiting, praying for the author to compose a new page
Erase the pain-filled leaves burning in his soul this day
Return to him the dream mankind savagely stole away

As the hot winds of war swirl, crouching, close in
Peace and freedom all but vanish right in front of him
The Sun in Heaven, like hell burning, now just a star
Leaves him parched, thirsting still for mirages afar