Anthony W. Pahl


No one killed that night but all died a little more.
Choked on hell all right; any strength reserves to draw?
Breath held till faces blue, mosquitoes gorging rancid red.
Heavy hand of silence grew knowing all are often dead.

Touch of an angel’s kiss on curved metal to kill and maim.
A shake not meant like this when we see a human slain.
Waiting with one thought: to kill with cold heart burned
with fear that is not sought. Good men to killers turned.

Relief and sadness next as day dawns clear and dim
when from the fear comes rest until we’re sent back in.
And those who live the day feel the loss of who they are;
not knowing the price they pay but all bear the inner scar.

All died in that unreal place and will ever bear the fears.
It’s just that some must face and survive more lurid years.

We each extend our hands to hold the other’s heart;
to help each other stand up to the hardest part
of living with our past, loving who we are
and feeling not outcast with someone there to care.

Always faithful, Semper Fi, cried both in war and peace
but war won’t let us lie without tears upon our face.
That’s as should ever be; no smiles or joy in war.
If pain we could not bear then man would be no more!