Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Soldier's Poem



My sister was cleaning out her old room the other day when she found copies of a poem we believe had been written by our father, who died in January.

There were two copies of the single-page document, mostly likely the last survivors of a stack of photocopies.

I had no idea my father had ever written poetry. I recall he had a desire to write, but that was usually in the form of angry letters to newspapers or corporations that had irritated him in some way.

This is something different. A veteran of World War II, my father wrote about what it feels like to kill somebody.

It's strange to imagine my father writing something like this. He could be a tough customer, so it's a little jarring seeing this more sensitive side.

Children have one impression of their parents and are so surprised when they come across something that doesn't fit the profile.

I suspect we will find other items as we clear out the house and learn things about our parents that we never knew. We're going to be archaeologists digging through our family's history.

While my father's poem describes an incident that took place more than 60 years ago, it retains its power.

Our country is now hopelessly mired in a disastrous war, concocted by a small pack of neocon idealogues who, in spite of all their tough talk, were never anywhere near combat.

I thought that on this Independence Day we would all benefit from the words of a real solider.

It's a welcome relief from the lies of a gutless idiot strutting around in a flight suit as he bravely orders others to die.

God bless America.

Murder--So Foul

I shot a man yesterday
And much to my surprise,
The strangest thing happened to me
I began to cry.

He was so young, so very young
And Fear was in his eyes,
He had left his home in Germany
And came to Holland to die

And what about his Family
were they not praying for him?
Thank God they couldn't see their son
And the man that had murdered him.

I knelt beside him
And held his hand--
I begged his forgiveness
Did he understand?

It was the War
And he was the enemy
If I hadn't shot him
He would have shot me.

I saw he was dying
And I called him "Brother"
But he gasped out one word
And that word was "Mother."

I shot a man yesterday
And much to my surprise
A part of me died with Him
When Death came to close
His eyes.

4 comments:

Calamity Jen said...

Powerful.

I can imagine how difficult it is to reconcile the contrasting images of your father. Perhaps, however, the poem hints at some of the experiences that made him the man he later became.

Rob K said...

Oh, yes, Jen, I'm sure you're right. People are expected to come back from war and resume their lives as if they've been on vacation. Reality isn't so obliging, I'm afraid.

smellie_ellie_x said...

hello , i was wondering if i could have the name of your father as im using your poem in my history lesson ! many thanks

Dr. Phil said...

This is a powerful poem...

With your permission, I'd like to quote it in a bit of a graphic novel I'm writing, with credit to your father. If the graphic novel gets published (which it may not), I'll certainly notify you and provide you a copy of it. Please let me know if this would be amenable to you.