Thurman P. Woodfork

WHO KNOWS WHY?

IWVPA Bronze Helmet Top Poet Award of Excellence - December 2004

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: November 6, 2004
Awarded: November 6, 2004

Thurman P. Woodfork: Who Knows Why?
How often have I asked myself
why it is that I’m still here?
Why did that damned bullet just
barely graze my ear?

Old Moby, who was behind me,
probably thinking of his farm,
gave a grunt and slumped right
over, grabbing out for my arm.

His eyes were wide and puzzled
as he lay there on the ground.
Then they just sort of went out;
he was gone without a sound.

I found myself down beside him
clutching him in that muddy hole,
though the sniper didn’t fire again;
he was satisfied with one soul.

But in my heart was a dagger
he had buried clear to the hilt;
and for all the days that remain
to me I’ll carry a nagging guilt.

I know full well that it’s not my
fault, but I’ll remember to the end
how that bullet whipped right past
my head to wind up in my friend.

All the words of reason they tell me
Will never take away my pain,
nor all the wishes in the world
bring Moby back again.

So I’m left to grieve and wonder
why it came to be that night
that Moby’s eyes and not mine
dimmed and lost their light.

It wasn’t because I was smarter
a lot braver or more bold;
I ain’t built no great empires
or saved a thousand souls.

The only reason I can think of
why it’s him and not me that’s dead,
is because, at just the right second,
I simply turned my head.

This poem inspired the response “Who Knows Why?” – ©Copyright November 7, 2004 by Per Cod