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David Hines [userpic]

APED: "forget-me-not"

April 25th, 2009 (10:49 pm)

The bodies lie where first they fell,
beneath the soil of manmade hell,
where men with rifles stood above
and fired down at those below.
They lie entwined, as if in love,
and none but them shall ever know.

None but one last rifleman,
old and feeble now, and thin,
who years ago, when young, stood by
and watched the broken weary dig,
and with his fellows made them die.
He's shrunken now. Was never big.

He'll join them soon. The cancer grows.
He saw the doctor's eyes. He knows.
His greatest sin remains unpurged,
as he runs down his mortal clock.
Bring them peace. He has that urge.
It's hopeless: there's a stumbling block.

The shooting he remembers well,
the din of guns, the cries. They fell.
The interest of the passing crows,
the twitching by the slow to die.
He knows he killed them, long ago --
but he's forgotten where they lie.


Posted by: stalkere (stalkere)
Posted at: April 26th, 2009 12:40 pm (UTC)

I work with a Veteran's Outreach Group. A surprising number of guys have come home, lived normal, healthy, productive lives...but now, as geriatrics, they are mentally revisiting the horror and reliving it.

Not sure how much we can do, now, to give these guys peace.

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: April 26th, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC)

PTSD is a horror. Hell, look at poor Audie Murphy...

I always wonder about the guys who wind up committing atrocities. My poem "nostalgia" involves a similar subject, but there the guy thought back fondly on his part in the Rwandan genocide; I wonder if that persona's attitude might have changed, if he'd gotten older.

I don't think the guy in this poem feels guilt as much as a desire to clear his slate. Probably didn't think about the killing much at all, until recently, which is what's giving him trouble at the end.

Edited at 2009-04-26 01:53 pm (UTC)

Posted by: mendori (mendori)
Posted at: April 26th, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)

I immediately thought of a story that Pseudopod published back in December, called Pran’s Confession.

When our own mortality is shown to us, the past overtakes us, and all of the horror we have seen - and worse committed - returns to us. The flash of life before we die plays itself out like a movie - but it lasts so much longer than a single instant.

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