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Military Poetics

Jun 25, 2009 - 4 comments
Tags:

military

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poetry

,

Duty



Hail all;

As I mentioned in an earlier journal entry, I find poetic inspiration from many things in life: nature, family, friends, random observations,  stray thoughts...

A concept I have developed over the years goes something like this; those who don the Uniform of their country have taken up the Burden.

A friend once wrote of the Burden, which the warriors of any people.  The phrase he used, which he heard from a Lakota Sioux comrade who served together with him in the Special Forces, went thus: "A warrior is one who willingly bears the burden of his tribe's bones."

I have come to think of this as one who accepts the duty and obligation to safeguard that which his people (tribe, clan, family, country, and so forth) has made for the good...

I am grateful to all those who have borne that burden, especially those who given the full measure of devotion in the task.

I wrote this in 2001 for Memorial Day.

Thoughts on the Burden.

Row upon row, the silent stones
Mark where they lie, who burden bore
Tested under, battle's harsh flames
Resting in peace, freedom they gave

Gift they gave us, those who lie still
Freedom to speak, freedom to grow
Building our lives, without concern
Knowing not when, burden is ours

Taking burden, handed to us
By those who sleep, under the sod
Uneasy thing, duty can be
Doing the Right, sometimes is hard

Hard we must be, sometimes in life
To win over, strife and ordeal
Carry the hopes, dreams and good will
Of kinfolk's lives, forward we must

We must be strong, when courage fails
Doing duty, in face of odds
Win through the flames, or maybe fall
Our marker too, added to rows

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by margypops, Jun 25, 2009
You are indeed a Poet , Steven, that is wonderful to read... I am from a Military family ,my father flew in the RAF in the war, my grandfather died in the trenches in WW1 they never found him, my Granma on died in the London  blitz. WW11 , My son in law recently came back from 3 tours of Iraq ,he is doing okay was one of the lucky ones  he is still serving his country.. The phrase  you put of the Lakota Sioux comrade is so eloquant and so true, thank you for them all.

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by Savas, Jul 31, 2009
You've got a good touch with words. I'm going to have to come back and look at this a second time, as I find that's always best with poetry.
reading this put me in mind of Robert Heinlein, especially "Starship Troopers" (the book, not the awful movie). Being a military man he often spoke of the burden and duty of being a soldier.

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by Piparskeggr, Aug 23, 2009
It's been awhile since I've posted a poem in this journal.

I was thinking of our veterans who return home, yet aren't all the way
back due to things that happened, which changed them inside.  It was
sparked by my mishearing the phrase "high, wide and handsome" during a
promo for an interview with Louden Wainwright III about his new album
(that phrase being the title).  I heard "hollow-eyed and handsome."

Home, but not home

He was hollow-eyed, yet handsome, too
Wide of shoulder and spare of flesh
Had golden hair o'er dark, red beard
Stood tall and straight, his head unbowed

The weight of years was in his gaze
As if the sights were made of lead
Had struck the life from deep within
To leave nothing behind his brow

He walked among his Kin and Kith
Alone with them, as with himself
Immune to joy and sorrow, too
A shell of what was once proud youth

The years had turned and gone by fast
He had grown well and made a choice
To serve his folk as soldier true
Had gone away and seen the wars

The days were long and full of fear
The nights went on without an end
But comrades fine were his bulwark
Against the dark that dwelt within

They fought beneath a banner bright
Its promise full of gentle thoughts
That they beheld as honor's prize
If they could but deny the foe

The wars went on without respite
The rests were few and all too short
And fellows of his band of friends
Fell all too oft before their time

His time it came, to feel the steel
Wielded by foe, unseen by him
A coward's trick, a hidden trap
It struck him down and sent him home

His body healed under the care
Of doctors fine, skillful and good
They could mend flesh and straighten bone
But they could not, weld up his soul

After wounds knit, he was discharged
And came to hearth of his boyhood
He recalled folk as memories
But felt he lived in ghost of past

He was hollow-eyed, yet handsome, too
Wide of shoulder and spare of flesh
Had golden hair o'er dark, red beard
Stood tall and straight, his head unbowed

The weight of years was in his gaze
As if the sights were made of lead
Had struck the life from deep within
To leave nothing behind his brow

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by TrudieC, Aug 23, 2009
You are definitely a talented man.  Thanks so much for sharing with us.

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