Mary E. Rogers


IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: January 23, 2008
Awarded: January 23, 2008
Toughen up, toughen up, keep that stiff upper lip
No tears, no tears… put on that happy face
No time, no time, to think of me
I must keep up this maddening pace

PTSD the demon of the hell of war
Deny myself and care for you
Forget my needs, forget my dreams
Whatever happened to the me I knew

Stay strong, stay brave, tell yourself it’s all okay
Inside my heart no longer feels
I shut it off to think of you
Your demons now are at my heels

I’ve sacrificed myself for you
I’ve given my all to love you home
And now you’re gone and I remain
In numbing silence I now roam

You are free from the hell of war
The demons you left them here with me
At darkest night they enter my dreams
I hear your screams your face I see

I stayed to hold you from the dark
I could have left you all alone
To fight the darkness closing in
To slay the demons you brought home

I stayed with you through all those years
You went away and left me here
You found your peace on the other side
Now I’m trapped to face my fear

I don’t know how to let it go
I don’t know how to live for me
I lived my life too long for you
No one is here to set me free

From screams and faces that torture me
From demons in the darkest night
From loneliness and stabbing pain
From memories that steal the joy of life

I never knew how to walk away
I set no limit on how much to give
I couldn’t leave you all alone
I had to stay to help you live

I should have left, I should have stayed
But now the past can’t be undone
I can’t slow down this maddening pace
I live my life on the run

From feeling too much to make me weak
From devilish faces that steal my sleep
From pain and memories that are always there
From a life lost that makes me weep

I served my country by your side
In memories etched within your mind
And sacrificed my life and joy
In Vietnam’s hell I stay confined

Someday I’ll pass through the Vale
Where I know you stand and wait
I’ll leave behind this awful war
The demons at last will meet their fate