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.)