Was That Really Me?

Was that really me,
signed his life away
fresh-faced, innocent
marched North
then sailed East
to unknown seas?

Fuelled by anticipation,
anchored by camaraderie,
that boy who crawled
through jungle deep
weathered Burma heat
and nightmarish infestations,
adrenaline pumping
infiltrated enemy lines
unarmed, feckless
nursed fears with booze
adopted false bravado.

Was that really me,
that man who emerged
hard-edged, battle-weary,
whose medals of bravery,
buried now, speak more
of loss, and horror
than triumph –

And who is this,
whose rage intimidates
with trigger-sharp precision,
who ravages all that is dear
ideals slaughtered,
hopes destroyed,
whose enemy
now dwells within?

(Today is Remembrance Day.  Spurred by the prompts of Reena’s Exploration Challenge – “Was that really me?”  and Ragtag Community’s “bravery“, I have tried to put myself in my father’s shoes.  He fought for the British Commandos during WWII, and in hindsight, suffered PTSD.)

 

 

22 comments

      1. Yes, I think there was shame, through lack of understanding, attached to those who suffered from non physical injuries, but I think now times have changed. Good he is willing to talk.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Your piece and the discussion on it coincides with a flick I was watching on TV yesterday. 10 ex-armymen take up a mission to protect a village from a criminal tormentor. They had failed to attack a targeted enemy camp years ago, as the leader sees a woman feeding pigeons and kids playing there. They are court-martialled. Years later, their actions are affected by the baggage they carry. It takes a lot of sharing by the leader to reinstate their faith in themselves. He says “We are soldiers, not killers”. I guess it troubles many.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My father, quite a bit older than my mother, was in both world wars (born 1891 and would have been 23 in 1914 when WWI began). He never spoke of them but I feel the impact of war made him an extremely hardcore person. He never showed emotion except for anger.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Understandably. I remember talking with a woman who had come from a war-torn country. She said it was odd to her when we put so much emphasis on stress, when bombs and death were a norm in her country. All relative.

        Like

  3. You did a great job, V.J., of taking on your dad’s soldier persona.You really captured that transformation. I could relate somewhat as my dad, too, fought in that war, told many stories of camaraderie and transformation, but he, too, suffered from PTSD; I remember him screaming in the night.

    Liked by 1 person

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