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Purple Heart

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Below is the poem entitled Purple Heart which was written by poet John Heck. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Purple Heart

Morning glowed, Phillip.
A purple fire burned beacon bright
against the stinging stench of napalm.

A thick thistle - two feet from your head,
wordless in speech, watched 
with dark misfortune
curving letters of prayer 
above your bleeding valor.

A crumpled martyr lying there,
innocent as a schoolboy
amidst the blare of gunfire -
asleep in our country’s eyes
dormant in the arms of an adopted comrade.

I held you - lost brother - tucked inside my soul;
nineteen and breathless.

The tears inside my empty lungs
spilled so softly onto your forehead
as I knelt in the center of August’s cancerous garden;
staring at the mud stained badge
nestled peacefully above your silenced heart.

I slowly ingested and tasted your
bullet-ridden honor, as I was viscerally blinded
by the sickening, piercing strobes
of a delicate mourning's

Copyright © John Heck

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  1. Date: 7/22/2012 7:30:00 PM
    J-the overwhelming depth in this piece is phenominal!!! you really bring it home! How gifted you are to take inspiration and create such a fabulous work...artiste...Well ya, deb

  1. Date: 2/16/2010 6:42:00 PM
    Congratulations on your first win, John. It saddens me to think that you lost your comrade, a boy of tender age. You express your feelings of sorrow and despair by holding him in your arms, to give him consolation on the brink of death. I can imagine the deep pain you felt, wanting to take his place y Your poem is too heart-wrenching, and made me cry inside. God bless you for your kind heart. Love, peace and hugs, Andrew.

  1. Date: 2/16/2010 10:40:00 AM
    Wow, John. That says it all! Congratulations on your win. This is an amazing poem. Lovingly, Dane Ann

  1. Date: 2/16/2010 5:42:00 AM
    Congratulations on your win in Mac's Contest John. Love, Carol

  1. Date: 2/15/2010 3:30:00 PM
    Congrats John on your winning poem in Mac's contest .. an amazing write ... an amazing win ... for an amazing poet.. luv.. Linda-Marie..

  1. Date: 8/17/2009 6:21:00 PM
    Congrats John! have a great day. Vince

  1. Date: 8/14/2009 10:31:00 PM
    John excellent as always - Congratulations on placing in the contest - God Bless, MJ

  1. Date: 8/14/2009 3:31:00 PM
    Realism too bitter to bear. Congrtulations on your win. Joyce

  1. Date: 8/14/2009 2:37:00 PM
    Powerfully poignant write here, John!! Congratulations on your win in Debra's contest!

  1. Date: 8/14/2009 8:06:00 AM
    Congratulations on your win in Deborah's contest John. Love, Carol

  1. Date: 8/14/2009 6:09:00 AM
    Congratulations for your winning poem. TL

  1. Date: 8/13/2009 5:56:00 PM
    So powerful this poem..and so deserving a winning place! Congratulations, John!! ~ Carrie

  1. Date: 8/13/2009 4:30:00 PM
    Hey! this is a great write! Congratulations, John! Ruben.

  1. Date: 8/13/2009 3:36:00 PM
    Congratulations, John Heck, on your well deserved placement in Deborah Guzzi's "War...what is it good for?" contest. The last verse, Oh, the last verse...delicate mournings sums it up. Sincerely, DAS-J

  1. Date: 8/13/2009 2:51:00 PM
    Congrats brother on your win..terrific write.

  1. Date: 5/30/2009 7:37:00 AM
    Hi John, So nice to read this MASTERPIECE, again. It is without a doubt, one of the most moving pieces of writing I have ever read. What a special gift you have! Love, Lainie

  1. Date: 5/26/2009 9:50:00 AM
    Congrats once again as you are being honoured once again with another feature of the week. We can’t get this kind of well deserved honour else where other than poetrysoup. Keep writing, you are a great poet… Leke

  1. Date: 5/26/2009 5:22:00 AM
    Congrats on this selection, John. What a fitting tribute for Decoration Day. Big love, daver

  1. Date: 5/26/2009 4:20:00 AM
    John, another congratulations on your well deserved poetry being featured this week. Double features awesome.Love, Carol

  1. Date: 5/25/2009 1:51:00 PM
    Congratulations again on this outstanding write being re-featured. God Bless, John. Vince