Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day

I just wanted to wish any veterans out there who may be reading this, a happy Veterans Day.  Like many of my peers, I protested the Vietnam War in my youth, and one of the unfortunate by-products of those times was a disrespect, even a vilification, of many of the veterans who returned home.  My philosophy since then has become, "Love the soldier, hate the war."  My late father-in-law was a WWII vet, and I had the utmost respect and appreciation for him.  So best wishes to all the vets out there, like my poet friend Charles H. Johnson.  (Read his work if you haven't already done so.)

Today's poem-a-day challenge was to write a poem from the point of view of a veteran.  Never having been one myself, I tried to put myself in the shoes of a vet returning home from Afghanistan, still carrying some emotional scars.


I have come back from a dry, rocky hell
feeling hollow, needing to be filled again.
I hold my family close. My dog licks my face,

and I take him with me to the woods,
down to the brook, where he chases squirrels,
while I sit on a stump and listen
to the birds, the gurgling water.

It all seems new again.

Moments like this, I am at peace,
and I feel safe within the walls of home,
although it's never far behind me,
that other fear, the bloody phantom
that comes leaping at me in my dreams.

[I should also mention that I combined this prompt with the "Wordle" word bank on the blog The Sunday Whirl.  I used all the words from the bank: dry, rocky, hollow, wood, brook, birds, new, walls, although, never, phantom, leaping.]