adversity · culture · grief · perspective · poetry · women's issues · writing

Equality

Two mothers were we
frozen in disbelief
as smoke rose

Cried for the losses
for our children
for a future devoid
of peace

Two mothers
hand-in-hand
shattered

A Christian
and a Muslim

War destroys all dreams.

(Image my own.)

adversity · change · poetry · writing

Is This War?

War is hell.  You can’t photograph a flying bullet, but you can capture genuine fear.”

The bomb has dropped
control slips from our grasp

We pray for a parachute
for someone to pull the cord

numbers escalate,
lives plummet

We offer encouragement
isolated voices faltering

moment of impact imminent
the implosion inevitable

impact reverberates
responsibility moot.

(For Reena’s Exploration Challenge:  the quotation, author unknown.  Image my own.)

 

 

Family · poetry · writing

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.)

 

 

adversity · culture · LGBQT · poetry · writing

In Remembrance (for Father)

I hold a photo of my father –
on that last Remembrance Day –
am awed by the person we never knew.

Just fifteen, he signed on,
joined ranks with an elite squad,

trained for unarmed combat.

He wears his Commando’s beret,
medals proudly adorning his breast –
symbols whose meanings are now lost.

They were the best and the brightest –
sleuthing out enemy stores, carrying

operative data to oncoming troops.

He cried that day, as candles glowed –
tears for the fallen – “Good men,”
he muttered, squeezing my hand.

A suicide mission, he’d called it,
armed with a knife and hands
of steel – a black pill if caught.

By day, he never spoke of war,
at night, he screamed in terror.
Why such a mission? I asked.

He’d had his own secret cause –
a war waging within him – 

bent on eradicating a tragic flaw.

War made my father – a disciplined,
regimented man of iron, intimidating,
fearless – machismo at its best.

He returned a hero, celebrated
with his hometown, and left again –

the lie still burning within him.

Father was a valiant soldier –
counted himself privileged
to serve beside the honourable.

At fifteen, a girl whose body
belied her existence, enlisted

in a fight to become a man.

(The original version of In Remembrance appeared November 11, 2015.  I resubmit it here, edited, for my weekly challenge: sacrifice.  My father sacrificed his life during the war, and then went on to sacrifice his true identity for the rest of his years. November 11th is Remembrance Day in Canada, a time to honour those who fought for our freedom. )

 

Family

In Remembrance

latest-1

I stare at the photo of my father,
that last Remembrance Day,
in awe of a person we never knew.

Just fifteen, the awkwardly tall
figure joined ranks with an elite
squad trained for unarmed combat.

He’s wearing his Commando’s beret,
medals proudly adorning his breast,
symbols whose meaning are now lost.

They were the best and the brightest,
sleuthing out enemy stores, carrying
imperative data to oncoming troops.

He cried that day, as candles glowed –
symbols of lives lost – “Good men,”
he muttered, and squeezed my hand.

A suicide mission, he’d called it,
armed only with a knife and hands
of steel – a black pill if caught.

By day, he never spoke of war,
at night, he screamed in terror,
Why such a mission? I asked.

He’d had his own secret cause,
a war waging within him – bent
on eradicating his heroic flaw.

War made my father – a disciplined,
regimented man of iron, intimidating,
fearless – machismo at its best.

He returned a hero, celebrated
with his hometown, and left again –
the lie still alive within him.

My father was a valiant soldier –
counted himself as privileged –
to serve alongside the honourable.

At fifteen, a girl whose body
belied her existence, enlisted
in a fight to become a man.

* * *

In remembrance of the countless men and women who put their lives on the line in the name of freedom – every one of which has a story.

 

 

adversity · mental-health · poetry

War is Hell

The battlefield still smolders,
oppressive gray smog hovering
The landscape is scarred,
ravaged reminders of war.

Origins borne of uncertainty,
fear spurred by righteousness
and a disgust of imperfection,
prolong the futile fight.

Subtly, imperceptibly,
defenses strengthen,
confidence renews
but the opposition
will not be silenced.

War is hell.
Unfair, biased,
blinded, deceitful.
Sacrificing the innocent,
destroying potential.

War is hell –
especially when….
the battleground
is the Self.

(Image: www.smithsonianmag.com)