Catherine A. Moser

(One Devoted Soldier)

The long day on that foreign land had almost faded to night.
Soham stood on the barren shore and watched the sun’s last light.
Just one week before, his life had been as normal as could be.
Now he was going to fight in a war on a land far across the sea.

“Does any man truly understand what a soldier must leave behind?
Every day we do our drills in rain and mud and go through the daily grind.
For freedom, my brothers and I are each willing to sacrifice our life,
but it is hard to leave Jaya behind so soon after she has become my wife.”

Then, all of a sudden, came a rumbling, booming sound.
The sparks started raining and fire and shells were darting to the ground.
“Run! Find protection!” Someone yelled to the rest of the men with him.
“Even with our weapons and armor, our chances are really slim!”

The men all ran to find some place far away from the dismal shore,
but Soham stayed and knew it was his responsibility, the burden he now bore.
Some men farther down on the beach saw the now bold look upon his face
Their lives and freedoms were under attack and it now became a race.

The dust went flying as the other men hurried to Soham’s aid to fight;
The sun was sinking low behind the horizon and it would very soon be night.
The shots were still ringing and the fire was still streaming from the sky.
Before it was all over on the beach, many men would pay the price and die.

It was a Tuesday morning when Jaya awoke to the sound of a car in the drive.
Who could that be? Were they here to tell her that her husband did not thrive?
Her heart was leaping with fear when the knock sounded on the front door.
The men, dressed in their uniforms asked to come in and speak with her more.

“We regret to tell you, Mrs. Joshi that your beloved husband did not survive.
He didn’t go with the rest of the men when the order came for them to dive.
Pfc. Soham Joshi was a man among men when it came to fighting and dying.
We are sorry to tell you this sad information. We’ll leave you to your crying.”

It couldn’t be her Soham, there had to be some mess up, some mistake.
She had plans ready for when he came home, starting with a walk by the lake.
How could her husband have been the one to have taken the fall so soon?
Jaya whispered to the silence “Soham, Main Tumse Pyaar Karti Hoon.”

The military plane was taking the soldiers back home to their loved one.
It was a brilliant sight as the plane glistened in the light of the sun.
Just before liftoff a mysterious young soldier boarded and sat in his seat.
Then came the call “Congratulations, you are the last of the fleet!”

As the plane finally landed in San Antonio, the young man looked full of life.
He started to scan the large crowd for any little sign of his wonderful wife.
At last he could not find her so he decided to just go back home alone.
The look of sadness and disappointment was being very clearly shown.

The car pulled into his driveway and as he reached the top step of his house
The front door opened quickly and out looked his adoring and lovely wife.
“I thought you had died my darling Soham. They told me you were dead.
Oh, you should have seen the terrible mess I was in and all of my dread.

I couldn’t bear the thought of my amazing husband lying on some shore
I just knew there had to be some kind of mistake and I was right for sure.
My whole world came to an abrupt halt when the men came to talk to me.
I just couldn’t believe them, I didn’t want to trust them; I didn’t want to see.”

“My dear wife, my dear Jaya, I could never bear the thought of leaving you
What you were feeling and believed have shown themselves to be very true.
Tell me my Jaya, what have you done while I have been so far away?
Have you been enjoying married life and thinking of me each day?”

Soham and Jaya spent many days together after his amazing arrival back.
They talked of all that had happened and Soham unloaded his Army pack.
He would never see the terrors of war and tragedy again: he was home at last.
It was all just a memory, all of the horrors and nightmares now in the past.

“We have enjoyed so much together my sweetheart but something is gone
I think I am ready to open my life and my heart to a daughter or a son.”
It was a very hard time of struggles and grief for Soham and Jaya Joshi,
but finally the day arrived, “She is such a beautiful baby girl, isn’t she?”

On September 9th the Joshi family welcomed a daughter, Sahana[1] Marie.
She was the completion to her father’s longing, and she was his precious Pari[2].
The family was now finally feeling complete, but there was still one more.
Soham was formally congratulated for his display of devotion on the shore.

“Dhanyavaad[3] for this honor you have bestowed on me, but I am not worthy.
It is my wife that should be up here, it is Jaya who was left to sit and worry.
In Hindi we would say I was Ek Mahatvakankshi Sainik, but I am not at all.
I just did what I was supposed to do, but I will never forget the horrors I saw.”

Soham and Jaya Joshi were blessed with the devotion and love of each other,
but Soham could not help but think of his friend and fallen young brother.
It would torment him day and night and keep him from sleep all his life,
but he knew he would always have the love of his again pregnant wife.

“God has truly blessed me with a darling wife and daughter, and much more,
but I cannot help but wonder about all those men that I left lying on the shore.
What are their loved ones going through: Their mother, father, sister, or wife?
Their dreams were cut short, and they had barely begun to live their life.”

Jaya adored waking each morning to see her handsome young husband there.
She would lie in bed and just watch him sleep and sometimes stroke his hair.
God had truly blessed her with a strong man to stand beside her in all ways.
The time for Jaya to have another baby was near; she was in her last days.

Sahana was growing anxious each day and was happy to have a baby boy.
She could hug and kiss him and as he grew older teach him to play with a toy.
Soham and Jaya Joshi had decided to name their handsome son Joshua Vic
Jaya whispers “Main Tumse Pyaar Karti Hoon[4] Ek Mahatvakankshi Sainik[5].”

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry
Awarded: April 29, 2007
Authors Note: The last line of the poem is Jaya whispering to Soham as he sleeps at night. I chose to use some Hindi words to express different feelings and expressions of my two main characters that, coincidently, are Indian. The character Soham (So-hom) Joshi (Josh-ee) is based on a real person. Soham is actually a friend of mine and I had his permission to use him as my main character for this poem. Soham is not really a soldier so some facts about him were changed to suit the poem, but I stayed as close to his real personality as I could. The character Jaya (Jie-a) Joshi is also based on a real person and I had her permission to use her as well, but her last name has been changed so that she appears as married to Soham in this poem. Jaya is just the shortened version of her name, but the full first name would be Jayashri. Since most people do not speak Hindi, I have included the translations of those words. God Bless.

Catherine A. Moser: Ek Mahatvakankshi Sainik (One Devoted Soldier)