War and History Poetry posted February 15, 2014

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To veterans...everywhere

A Monumental Pain

by Marillion

They march up proudly, some with stunted gaits, 
but as the soldiers crowd the monuments, 
each has the statued gaze that demonstrates
the truest rendering of consequence.

Memorials enshrine the memories
of fallen brothers; mud and blood; the Bomb,
and trenched expressions hold the histories 
of tours in France, Korea, Vietnam; 

of oily skies above Iraqi sands; 
an Iwo Jima pillbox; Kabul streets; 
the kick of M-16s in calloused hands; 
and how a kill-shot echo re-repeats

like metal in a shrapnel-studded mind. 
Conditioned trigger-fingers curl and twitch 
recalling how a Panzer tank would grind
mechanically above a fox-hole ditch.

The sounds and images survive the years
in those who were, or just beyond, their teens
when they were shipped, still wet behind the ears,
to live or die in those horrific scenes.

Relived in films, but rarely captured well,
those recreated versions try, but fail
to capture days, or weeks, or years in Hell
for those who trudge the endless battle trail.     

No matter where, or when, or what the war, 
The continent, the climate, or terrain, 
a sense of brotherhood unlocks the door
to every veteran's unspoken pain.


Quatrains in iambic pentameter

This is actually an older piece, written after a weekend in Washington, D.C. and visiting all of the monuments there. The former soldiers present, including two cousins and an uncle and my father, were all emotional, and one could see in their expressions that they were no longer present, but locked in memories of what they each went through in different campaigns.
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Artwork by hchriste at FanArtReview.com

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