Anthony W. Pahl


If I were in a wheelchair, or had scars, or were to limp,
or had a missing limb or two, one wouldn’t have to think
about the reason that I lead this life of solitary pain.
Nor would I have to find the words in order to explain
the scars existing in my mind and in my heart and soul.
I wouldn’t have to find the voice so my story could be told.
But I sit alone and write my verse about the life I lead
and try to find the reasons for the lonely solitude I need.
I persevere despite the doubts of what I’m really worth
and cry at times when I can’t see any reason for my birth.
But then I look at what I’ve found in the midst of all this pain;
the friendship, love, and purpose – these are the things I gain.
So the consequences of Vietnam are placed back on the shelf
and the mental scars become trophies of a younger, braver self.

Author’s Note: Thank God that this poem is more a recollection of how it was rather than how it is, particularly the first part. I can’t help but think that having the physical scars and reminders as well as the mental PTSD that comes with or without those scars would be even more distressing. How naïve I used to be in wishing that I had lost an arm or leg in Vietnam rather than suffering PTSD!

This poem inspired the response, “Percy Veer” ~ ©Copyright November 7, 2004 by Colin F. Jones