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.)

 

 

The History Lesson

“Why do we have to learn about something that doesn’t effect us?” the small, blonde student asked me. “I mean, it was ages ago, and not even in our country.”

She might as well have run me through the heart with a stake, the pain of her words struck me so deeply.  I considered her:  an average student, indulged, youngest child, modestly dressed, like many of her age. Disinterested.

Because without our awareness, and interference, history repeats itself, I wanted to say.  Because nothing that happens in the world happens in isolation; we are not immune. Because ignorance makes victims of us all.

Instead, I sent the class home with an assignment:  ask questions, call your grandparents, find someone who remembers, and be prepared to share what you have discovered.

***

History foretells –
casts eerie shadows over
disregard’s future.

(dVerse’s Haibun Monday is hosted by Frank J. Tassone, who challenges us to write a piece for Hiroshima Day.)