William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

THEY SHOT THE CHILDREN
(Troubled Thoughts in a Dream)

It always seems so obscene as I seen it in my dreams
Soldiers went to catch the children on the hill
The big ones were hard to catch but the wee ones were no match
for our soldiers moving silently with skill

The UN had caught some children from the villages around
Kids who saw their parents shot and killed and buried in the ground
Some managed to escape slipping quickly through the lines
They were captured by their people and marched off at double time

They shot two one morning just for sleeping whilst on guard
A cruel lesson to the others who were learning fast and hard
A village boy turned soldier – a lad just turned thirteen
displayed upon some sandbags with five bullets in his spleen

He’s a lesson to the others – whilst on guard you do not sleep
For these children, as we drive by, inward, silently, I weep
As I bury thoughts within me – I have but one real deep regret;
The UN didn’t save the children – that’s a hard one to forget!

Author’s Note: This poem relates to a dream recalled while being seen by a couple of University of British Columbia shrinks during the Veterans Life Review Programme held over a period of a few months during the fall and winter of 1999.

I would recommend these cleansing talks to all old soldiers; I think these sessions are good for one’s soul and the new programme being put on by Veterans Affairs Canada and the Royal Canadian Legion would be good for those who continue to have bad dreams. At the time I was a bit disturbed by the memories, but it was a “let it all hang out” series of talk it out sessions and was of benefit to me and to others who attended the life review programme. Dr. Tim Black is now running the programme here in Victoria (with the Royal Canadian Legion) Dr. Black is a Professor at University of Victoria, BC. Dr. Marv Westwood is still at the University of British Columbia.

I just found the poem again in a book; the hand-written version was given to Dr Marv Westwood and Dr Tim Black after one of their wellness life review sessions. I think it brought back old disturbing thoughts that I had somehow buried. In any case it is only a dream and although I still have it from time to time it is now not a nightmare like it was years ago.

My mother used to say time heals mental wounds and I think she was correct. I think these shrinks do a good job and help people to deal with their bad dreams and, especially because I no longer self medicate with booze, the dreams are not so bad. Luckily I wasn’t fired from my job because the Chief Constable I worked for was a good man and he understood my turmoil when I punched the windows out of the Communications Centre at the Police Station where I worked.

These are just my thoughts and opinions – for whatever they are worth. I served 20 years in the Army and 20 years at the police station and I draw pensions from both occupations. In retirement I find fulfillment in doing charity work and I now (have a physical opportunity to) help the children hands on by taking dressings, antibiotic ointments and pain killers to the Aids Orphans of Africa!