"I am hearing poetry when awake, dreaming poetry when asleep, breathing poetry with each breath, I am living in a poem."

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The War

The war is coming.
The war is near.
The war turned
young into ancient.

He was too young
to know confidence
can shrink with a bullet.

Chest wide into the brag
he marched the swagger
of a man of eighteen.

War became real when
life walked a target
of kill or be killed.

Buried in blood, mud,
and dreams of a Missouri sunset
he crawled toward an enemy
to keep horror from booting
its way to home and front door.

The war came.
The war left scars.
The war turned youth into hero.

©Susie Clevenger 2017

The photos of are of my father-in-law. He was only seventeen when he enlisted. The army was supposed to only take young men who were eighteen, but war being war he went. He turned eighteen in a bunker in the Philippines taking on enemy fire. 


Namratha said...

True depiction of the life of a young soldier. Sad but true

Donna@LivingFromHappiness said...

My uncle was the same trying to enlist at 16 in Canada and eventually going a couple years later to England. He never spoke of the horrors of war but in his waning years I asked if war movies ever really depicted what it was like....he said only one...Saving Private Ryan. I watched the horror of that movie and it forever changed me....what they had to endure and so many dying still.

brudberg said...

The fact that we send young men to war is such a tragedy... but I guess you need to be young to accept what it does to you.

Colleen Looseleaf said...

Nice mix of tribute and reality check on war.

John Buchanan said...

So many boys pretended to be young men, such a shame that societies nativity encouraged it.

Mary said...

What a moving poem, Susie. Looking at the photo - he looked SO very young. A boy indeed. I am sure he had 'scars,' but thank goodness he survived.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

War is an awful passage to adulthood, and I cannot begin to imagine his horror when realising the reality of kill or be killed.
So many - both young and old - are scarred forever.

R.K. Garon said...

Very true.

Cressida de Nova said...

Most of them kept quiet about their traumatic experiences for their entire lives, if they were lucky enough to survive.You FIL looks a school boy which in fact he was.War is a terrible thing.

Thotpurge said...

That is tragic.. a young man enduring the horrors of war..for what! Wish we'd end them all.

Sherry Marr said...

Susie, wonderful to see you linking at Poets United. Yay! I think all the time about those fresh-faced youngsters just out of high school, finding themselves suddenly in hell, under fire.......trying to stay alive. Younger than my grandsons, who seem like kids to me..........I am so glad he survived, Susie. My uncles did too. But their eyes had seen things they would never talk about. They wanted to leave us our innocence.

Wendy Bourke said...

I love this piece. It is rendered with a bang-on clarity that, struck me, would probably resonate impactfully with young boy/men 'buried in blood, mud, and dreams of a Missouri sunset'. Awesome writing!

Sumana Roy said...

So lovely to see you here, Susie :)

"when / life walked a target / of kill or be killed."...It's horrific when civilization comes to this. So well penned.

Old Egg said...

This is just the right way to tell of the commitment of youth when their country is embroiled in war. We must always be aware of such sacrifice that keps our countries free.

Magaly Guerrero said...

"a man of eighteen". When it comes to war, that kind of youth always breaks the heart.

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