Poetry Corner: The War Vet

By Richard Wallace

Heavy shelling and the rattle

through the prism of a battle.

Huge explosions from the ditches,

flying body parts and stitches.

Emotions pushed just so far back

for fear his friends should see him crack;

he left it all on the field

that dreadful day


He was petrified and terrified;

a kaleidoscope of fear.

A bloody stump where his arm used to be,

a face that was not for the faint to see.

His plane ride home was a ride from hell,

would his family know him – who could tell?


Tylenol and alcohol,

codeine soup for lunch,

No tears to fall, no place to cry,

no place to hide, don’t even try.

The searing pain from a phantom limb

threw a blanket of sorrow over him


That blender sounds like machine gun fire;

the same can be said for the washer and dryer.

That’s why he decided to take his life

so he slit his neck with his army knife.

There wasn’t much life left to slip away;

he left it all on the field

that dreadful day.

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3 replies »

  1. It’s also worth considering the fact, and it is a fact, that war veterans can be nervous of loud bangs, and bonfire night can be a hard time for them. Mike’s Dad has passed from this life now, but those very loud, explosive fireworks which are becoming more and more fashionable, made him jump. He was a man of courage, not just in his army career. He’d been through a lot, and didn’t deserve to have that carry on into civilian life.
    Organized, collective firework displays look more spectacular, and also can be more sociable.
    They still can be frightening – but at least folk know where they are happening, and can take precautionary measures for themselves, and their animals.

    • Hey Bernie, thank you for your comments and to be shell shocked and so stressed must be a dreadful situation that few can understand. Isn’t that an understatement. I wrote that following a week..just one week…when four Canadian service men committed suicide. …a high price to pay…

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