The Abandoned Soldier

by | Oct 6, 2007 | Poetry | 0 comments

The eyes betray the pain
Hollow, empty eyes
A lifetime in one glance
Blinking moist with sadness
In search of understanding
Barely holding back the tear

Alone, standing to attention
A solemn sight for all to view
A stubborn look about the face
Lips taught with embers of defiance
A wry ironic smile
A stoic sense of duty

The glorious dead do not grow old
The living are but vague reminders
Of a soldiers gift and a nations debt
A collective shame unwashed in generations
Putrid and bitter without a voice
Crying out for respect and restitution

Body racked with untold hurt
Phantom pain from near useless limbs
Age has wearied him
And the years condemned
The shadow of a once proud man
Who took the shilling and paid the price

Young men, old beyond their years
Damaged minds in ravaged bodies
Witness to the horrors
Victim of the daily struggle
Stiffened with age and unseen scars
He does not complain, we taught him well

Communities of dead from conflicts past
Stand testament to our human failure
Leaders give no deference to the fallen
Dulce et decorum est…, the oldest lie
Loved ones nurse a heavy burden
Complicit in their fervour

Hand picked like poppies of the field
Blossoms of the poor and disadvantaged
Moulded to be the nations guardians
Hailed as saviours in the morning
Old heroes slowly fade away
Discarded when the sun goes down

In the autumn of our lives
Old soldiers reminisce
Amidst the dreams of death and glory
Two minutes can seem a lifetime
In remembrance of the fallen
A fleeting memory remiss

The promise has been broken
No longer duty-bound
Honour lies bloody on the altar
A sacrificial lamb
The soldier has been abandoned
In a society that doesn’t care


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