Seb's young fertile face beamed African royalty
even in the penury of this Nigerian refugee camp.
Her mother's downcast eyes shunned the camera's querying lens,
while Seb's, "I-love-you", eyes were welcoming.
Seb's eyes were as blossom-petaled obsidian pools,
each pierced by the light of a distant star.
Her blackness did not succumb to woeful displacement,
but shone with the promise of an overcoming spirit;
for a Mother's prayers were writ in the marrow of her bones.
Born with a tenacity to love,
her young heart leaped out through trusting inquisitive eyes.
Her tongue, budding out of rich dark faced soil, seemed eager
to taste the sweet juices that her spirited-eyes promised;
smiling, "l love you", behind barbed wired love-me-nots.
Seb was a child . . . full of joyful expectations.
A child who did not choose this world;
'tho born of a Spirit conceived to love . . .
to love the . . . hell . . . out from her world.
(Note: This piece came out of seeing this fascinating photograph
by Sebastian Rich, of Seb clinging to her Mother in a camp for displaced Nigerians.)
Caption : A Nigerian child in a UNICEF clinic, who was finally on the road to a full recovery after suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Her unprompted smile filled my lens.
I would encourage everyone to visit the website of Sebastian Rich. His heart-gripping photography is incredibly moving and of great importance.
Copyright © george v. | Year Posted 2017
I remember as a young boy, going out to play, I would sometimes see old Mr. Kimball, sitting on the steps of his porch, often reading the paper. World War II was in full swing so the newspapers and radios were avidly sought out for the latest news. Mr. Kimball was a fireman, and probably not even that old, but he seemed that way to me.
Sometimes, he would invite me to sit with him and we would talk about everything and nothing. I loved spending time with him because, he was the only grown up I knew that took the time to entertain the mind of a young boy.
In his front window hung a small flag. It had a red border surrounding a white field, upon which there were two blue stars. I was always curious about it, so I asked him what it was. He said “It's a Sons in Service flag. One star for each son serving. You remember my boys don't you?” I did of course. Chuck, the oldest, used to tease me, calling me a sissy to get a reaction. Bobby was a couple of years younger, and the bike I was riding once had been his.
Mr. Kimball went on to explain how Chuck was now in the Army and fighting in France. Bobby was in the Navy, aboard a ship somewhere in the Pacific. He didn't say it, but I'm sure he was worried about both, communications being what they were back then.
One day, when I was walking over to see him, I noticed that the flag had changed. It now carried one blue star, but the other one was gold. With the innocence that comes of being a child, I asked what the gold star meant. He quietly said “It means Chuck is coming home”, and without further comment, he turned and went in the house.
A couple of days later, I saw a hearse pull up to the Kimballs house, and four men carry a flag draped box up the porch steps. That is the moment the meaning of war came to a small boy. I knew Chuck was home.
Copyright © Bob Quigley | Year Posted 2012
Don’t judge that kid with her arms all scarred
Don’t brand that kid as bad
You never would have survived
If you had the life she had
So say a prayer and show you care
She’s paid more than her share of dues
Don’t put her down or say bad things
Until you’ve walked that mile in her shoes
Those who suffered in war earn respect
They are greeted like super stars
She came from a war you wouldn’t understand
On her arms, the battle scars
Her own home was the battle zone
The desperation, feeling all alone
A situation she felt no escape from
Then late at night the urges come
Innocence lost like a bad dream
No self respect, no self esteem
It is an ongoing battle to feel whole
You can see the beauty within her soul
Sometimes I pray for a Judgement day
You have no heart if you look away
Flashbacks come and the anger stirs
The guilt she carries isn’t hers
There is a need for justice long past due
A need for acceptance from me and you
With anger, despair and fear demanding
The child needs some understanding
In spite of all the tears she cried
There are still battle scars deep inside
Copyright © Vince Suzadail Jr. | Year Posted 2009
It was in July of 1945
And the USS Indianapolis
Had a crew of nearly 12 hundred alive
But a Japanese sub fired and did not miss
American sailors had completed their job
Delivering parts for the first atomic bomb
Some sank with the ship, others in the sea did bob
No food, few lifeboats, ocean deceptively calm
Surprise attack, no distress signal had been sent
It was four days later those floating were spotted
The survival rate was just 25 percent
With hundreds of sailors’ bodies the sea was dotted
In the movie “Jaws” as Captain Quint had related,
“The sharks came cruisin'. So we formed into tight groups.”
Six men per hour were killed while for help they waited
All were lost but 316 Navy troops
Some victims died of exposure or starvation
But far more were killed by the sharks that had attacked
These men lost their lives in service to our nation
But bomb parts delivered had a deadlier impact
One of the last ships that was sunk in World War II
The Indianapolis had turned the war’s tide
With a mission carried out by a courageous crew
Victory was soon celebrated by allies worldwide
This is an entry for the History Poems contest
Copyright © Diane Locksley | Year Posted 2011
War leaves scars. They are emotional. They are physical. They are spiritual.
My brother had proposed to my sister-in-law on Valentine's Day, and so it was on that fateful day, 12 years later that his and her lives would change forever.
My brother had invited his wife to the posh Phonecia Hotel in Beirut for a cosy romantic lunch date while their three kids were in school. They decided to sit at a table facing the window so they could see the beautiful view outside. They could see the azure sky touching the Mediterranean in the distance.
At first, they sat opposite each other, but feeling amorous, my brother asked Pam to sit next to him. She was facing the glass window.
During the meal, as they chatted, little did they know that a very important government official was passing on a street close by and that this event would mark them forever.
"On 14 February 2005, Rafic Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, was killed, along with 21 others, when explosives equivalent of around 1,000 kilograms of TNT (2,200 pounds) were detonated as his motorcade drove near the St. George Hotel in Beirut."
This was only a short distance from where my brother and his wife were having their Valentine meal. The glass window imploded when the car bombs detonated, and my brother and his wife were thrown off their chairs. They were soaked in blood and for a while, found it hard to see or know what had happened. They were in a daze. The extensive bleeding was caused by the shards of glass they had been peppered with as the floor to ceiling glass imploded. They looked at each other and the ghastly sight was more than they could take.
In the mayhem that ensued, they were able to make their way outside the building with other injured people. Eventually, an ambulance rushed then to the nearby American University Hospital. It was nearby because my brother taught in the Business Department of the American University of Beirut, so they had decided to have a quick lunch in the nearby vicinity.
Extensive work was done on both their faces. My sister-in-aw had a tooth knocked out from the force of the impact as she was thrown to the ground. Her injuries were more obvious as she had been sitting facing the glass. Up to this day, my brother sometimes has pieces of glass make their way to the surface of the skin on his face, and he has to pull them out. That's how deeply they became embedded.
When later asked if they wanted cosmetic surgery done to cover up the zig zag scars on their faces, my spunky Canadian sister-in-law replied, "Why should we? This is part of our history, of what we have been through, and it gives us a great story to tell."
I wish I were as brave as she is. The three children had a hard time seeing their parents in this state. Pam had to stay in intensive care for a while and when the kids finally did get to see her, Dylan, the middle child, burst out crying and said, "Mama, I don't like what's happened to your face."
This is life in Lebanon. We have lived through the war. We have survived. We have scars that tell the stories. I have written a full article on this, and will post a few excerpts later.
We live in a spiritual battlefield. Christ came to rescue us, the wounded and the dying. He CHOSE to walk into the war zone. Jesus carries the scars in his hands and in his side of that rescue mission. He carries these marks for eternity, a sign of His great love and passion for us and for our salvation. He came to rescue the hostages of war....and "by His stripes, we are healed."
Isaiah 53: 5-
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed
Copyright © Eileen Manassian | Year Posted 2015
Wading through flooded streets as hurricane rain poured
A man fell into the flow when sharp thunder roared
As a journalist reporting live from the scene
I saw lightning crack through the sky, heard the man scream
“Is he homeless?” I asked the emergency crew
The director shook his head; the answer he knew
“He lives in our park now, but served in Vietnam
He saved his entire unit from the Viet Cong.”
The team pulled him from the gutter to the shelter
I brought him tea, forgot I was a reporter
I asked why he’d screamed, his memory seemed hazy
“Did you hear the bombs drop?” asked Captain Bob Mazy
The emergency director took me aside
“We call him Crazy Mazy,” he did confide
He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder
Can’t live with the lives he took following orders.”
When Hurricane Kate passed o’er the Gulf Coast
I’d seen much destruction, but remembered Mazy most
His story I broadcasted and vets contacted me
The donations poured in; so many gave freely
Soon we’d accumulated twenty-five grand
Just enough to buy Mazy an acre of land
Then people from his home state gathered one weekend
To build him a home, much effort they expended
Several social workers set up counseling services
To meet all his needs, everyone made concessions
Local stores gave him clothing, food, even a job
No longer “Crazy Mazy,” he was now just Bob
A gentle man who soon overcame all his fears
On Memorial Day, he was greeted by cheers
Accolades he’d never heard when he returned from Nam
But attitudes had changed and people’s hearts had warmed
Copyright © Carolyn Devonshire | Year Posted 2011
Hi everybody, my name is Vera as some of you already know, and I am the wife of Peter Duggan. I came on this site to cheer Peter on, and also to read some poetry which I do enjoy at times. I have made a few friends on this site and correspond with some, and a few of them have asked me to write something. Now I have never done anything like this before, but I decided to humor these friends any way.
I could not really think of anything to write about, but then I thought of a subject dear to both myself and Peter; the transformation that he has gone through in the last five years. This might be of interest, and indeed some help to others who are having problems within their relationships with others.
We married in London in sixty five, Then emigrated to Australia in 1967 and our marriage was going very well, filled with love and laughter. But then Peter decided to join the army, and volunteered to fight in Vietnam, because he wanted to do something to repay this wonderful country back for letting him live here.
When he came back to Australia, this was when it all went pear shaped. Peter started to change; he become very aggressive and Psychologically cruel to myself and our three children and was like a keg of dynamite just waiting to explode. He would argue about everything and anything, and got involved in many very nasty fights. No one could tolerate him for very long, and myself and the children often felt like we were walking on eggshells whenever he was around. He turned to alcohol, and cannabis, and he was always off his head on any one of those drugs. Having said all this, Peter was never physically aggressive to me or the children.
Anyhow, this all came to a climax, when he suddenly walked out on us all and decided he wanted to live like a bum. Said he wanted his freedom. This was the last time I saw him for a year. When because I loved him so very much, I asked him to come back to us again. He came back, but nothing really changed, in fact I told him he would never change, and I honestly thought our marriage was beyond repair. He had done so much counselling, read every book on self-help, and tried religion [all the major ones], but nothing really helped.
Then one day about five years ago, Peter was perusing through the net, desperate to find someone to help him get rid of this evil that lurked within him He came cross a man named John Sherman, who claimed that he could help people with this simple little action, that he gave Peter to do. In his desperation Peter put his whole life into this simple act.
He never strayed from this path, and after a month or two things started dropping away. Each day he seemed to get more, and more happy, so happy in fact that he seemed to bubble with happiness. His anger started to drop away gradually until it diminished completely. He still loves to argue, but he never has to be right all the time and treats it all as a game. How anyone can change so dramatically, is completely beyond me, but the miracle happened; the evidence is before me. If I ever won the lottery, I would donate half of it to the Sherman foundation, and would be totally happy to do this. But the only thing that we can do Is spread the Sherman’s work any chance we can get. We both owe them so much.
Anyhow, this is my first write, and I hope that many people might gain something from it. Peter and I are now the the happiest couple that ever walked the face of the Earth. I thank all of you that chose to read, this. Whether I’ll ever make a second attempt one never knows. But I surely enjoyed writing this. Peter helped me to arrange the words, as I had no confidence in my own abilities…..Vera
Copyright © Vera Duggan | Year Posted 2014
He sits in a wheelchair pushed to the curb. The people around him move aside to assure he is able to see. His shrunken body a shell of what it used to be. His breathing labored, aided by the tube that extends from the oxygen tank attached to his chair. On his head, he sports a blue campaign cap with VFW stitched in gold. He is one of America's finest, come to pay his respects.
Behind him stands a younger woman who has guided him there. A daughter perhaps, fussing over him, adjusting the robe in his lap, assuring his comfort. He shows no resistance to the attention, but simply sits and waits.
In the distance drums are heard, soon to be joined by the sound of horns. A stirring march riffles over the crowd, and an electricity grips their senses. Soon the call of cadence is heard. The measured tramp of boots, perfectly in time with the music. It grows louder until at last, a military formation looms into view. Uniformed soldiers, marching in perfect rows, perfect columns, gleaming boots, ribboned chests, weapons at rest on their shoulders. The crowd stirs. Small flags are waved. Cheers erupt. Pride hangs thick in the air.
The color guard approaches. Banners held high, snapping in the breeze. Some spectators remove their caps while others cover their hearts. Children, hoisted to their fathers shoulders, clap in excitement.
The old man tugs at the woman's sleeve and motions for her to come closer. She leans down and listens as he speaks, then asks "are you sure"?. He nods his head. Walking to the front of the chair, she removes the robe and, grasping his outstretched hands, pulls him slowly to his feet, where he stands with her assistance. Those around him watch as the frail, stooped body, with some difficulty, stands more erect. They see the pain etched on his face, and the tear that escapes his eye as he offers a salute as the flag passes by.
Suddenly, the cadence count stops, and in it's place is heard a command . A command normally reserved for when passing a reviewing stand. "Company, eyes right" the guidon bearer bellows, and with that, he returns the aging veterans salute, a sign of respect for an old soldier. After all, it is his flag. It is his country. He bought them both many years ago.
Jan 10, 2012
Copyright © Bob Quigley | Year Posted 2012
The battle begins with an assault on the hill
Our men respond knowing my will
The white warriors continue their drill as before
My men are confident to the core
I order attack on the right white flank
The whites maintain their tightened rank
Generals continue to deploy the men
Since the White attack, this general must defend
My right bank archers saw the chance
Neutralized the left bank Archers in confidence
The trench warriors were stopped in their tracks
This stalemate will eventually end on the flanks
The White General moved to his right
Surrounded by warriors ready to fight
A squad of tanks guarded his side
The Master General needed to hide
My main power entered the fray
The enemy King cornered in the bay
The battle continued action to action
General to General, Grant and Jackson
Both sides fought to the end
The White warriors had to defend
I saw the opportunity to be great
My final maneuver delivered Checkmate!
A Chess Poem
Copyright © Joseph Guth | Year Posted 2015
Terrified in a corner
Hearing the rockets
Shattering her heart
Their heads not accepting
Is happening again
Forced to move out
They leave their homes
With no place to go
The horrors of war
Are just to many
No food, no water
Destruction and death
Piles stacked up
Of smoking debris
Breathing no more
In their eyes
And pain for those
Children to witness
A treated of Peace
That can't never work
For a long time
Only till Jesus
Dorian Petersen Potter
Copyright © Dorian Petersen Potter | Year Posted 2014
The night shone for the full moon,
Sky brewing a coarse monsoon,
Bolted were windows, locked were doors,
The frequency of death frighteningly soared.
But who was this infant high upon the hill?
He denied the storm and just stood stone still,
Eyes shut like blinds and fingers dug into ground,
Felt he could move no muscle, for was sadly street bound.
Shutting his eyes, arms wrapped tight round
His skinny body, battered and browned
Praying for the sake of friends, family and all
However imaginary, he imagined them call
“Boy, come to us we love you most”
“Our love for you is bigger than the Canadian coast”
“Do not cry, remember our love”
Joining their gaze in the beyond above,
He softly mumbled a song to forget,
The once daily song that was always a duet,
Alone on that hill without any feel,
Of an afterlife he finally accepted, wasn’t real
Tears met the floor, now bathed in yellow light,
As lightning struck him too quick to fright,
Child lay on the floor, dismembered and black,
Though his mouth was smiling and his happiness had come back,
As re-joined with family, head held high,
He waved his tortured existence goodbye.
Hugging his mum and his dad the same,
Somehow put an end to the incessant rain,
The natives emerged from their homes, safe and sound,
The boy crying for happiness at the new life he had found.
Soul peering at his body, dead at age eleven,
Holding family’s hands they could finally pass on and join heaven.
The touch of their skin brought old emotion,
Parents who were torn betwixt war and devotion,
A child whom they gave their best shot,
By train to board and bomb to not.
The grave of the boy with the electric crown,
Who carried a burden he couldn’t live down,
Stood proud in the yard of cobbles and stones,
For everyone knew those were a heroes bones,
When you look into the sky on a stormy night,
Remind yourself of the boy’s plight.
As he is the clouds that damper weather,
Out to protect his town, children altogether,
He wanted a life for them around,
That didn’t consist of being mentally wound,
A life that he could never possess,
But he did not bathe in spiralling depress.
Life is sacred, upon that hill,
Those cobbles and stones bring great goodwill,
For the sun only shines on that grassy land,
Still holding marks of the boy’s humble hand,
Some say that the yearly rain,
Is him up above, the tears of a chain.
The chain of the tears shed on that night,
Of the fear and happiness’ conventional recite,
Up above, being tucked under the covers,
Is a little boy with an injury he recovers,
Mother kisses his head and says her goodnight,
Father over bed, comforting a nightmare fright.
Drifting off, the boy could hear,
A little rhyme to calm his fear,
“Boy, come to us we love you most”
“Our love for you is bigger than the Canadian coast”
“Do not cry remember our love-“
The young man rose slowly in his bed,
Opened his eyes and smiled as he said
Copyright © Nichola Vincent | Year Posted 2014
They burst forth and charge downwards
Matching uniforms shiny against the grey sky
Their only desire to smash suicidally upon our ranks
We hear the thunder of them coming, and carefully prepare
The vanguard already lie smashed upon the ground
The rest will soon swell the regiments of the defeated
Moments before they arrive we deploy our umbrellas
Countless warriors smash harmlessly inches above our heads
Their watery remains dripping from our defences
Mingling with those of their already fallen brethren
Contest : FALL YOUR CHOICE any theme/any form max 12 lines
Copyright © Nick Bagnall | Year Posted 2011
Descends over the mountains
a blanket of suffering thunder
The fork between two tongues sings
truth always comes to light
under angel rays expelling echoes
A thousand ancient whispers
striking home babbling silently
gathering tongues cry to the vain
Gale force in the mind blows fuse
There is so many power hungry nations
fed by constantly spilling innocent blood
keeping people down is such a falsehood
God be with all victims of crime committed
Wounded knee echoes of past genocide exist
as does the Emerald Isle
an open book clearly speaks volumes
They who should be held accountable
by countries of this world
brought to justice and face the facts
freedom is a democracy
to live without chains attached
Sweeping under weeping souls chant
Spirits haunting winds cry
over many plains in song
There is no love of God present
in them who take another's life
Rustling through branches
many tales of woe Armenia cries out
Battle reduces men into animals
through their blood thirsting hate scars
Filled with rage and bitterness gas used
inhumane violence stormy seas fuels the desire
to kill every living being poisonous mushrooms cloud
with hate consumes
wiping out countless women and children
destroying nature without a care for this planet
Always innocent parties unto such vile acts are addressed openly
Wipe away the cobwebs from over your eyes world
Taking life from the living forbidden
no good disturbing the balance of peace
Love is far from so many people's heart's these days
Copyright © liam mcdaid | Year Posted 2016
Two giants stare into each other’s eyes
Each out to prove that he is more wise
The battlefield is broken down into squares
The moves are recorded to keep the war fair
The armies line up in parallel lines
Each solider a piece of timeless design
The pawns look across and each of them know
When it comes to sacrifice there the first to go
But that is ok for this is their place
Better to die for their King then live in disgrace
Each pawn is driven or so it would seem
Reach the end of the board and answer your dream
The Castles stand at the corners of it all
For the true defense is found in their walls
The Knights have their own special move
They will pick you apart if they fall in their groove
Next to the Knights the Bishops pray
Asking the Lord to guide their way
The Queen is the most powerful as it’s always been
For she holds the hearts of all of her men
Next to the Queen the King stands with pride
For he has an army and a giant on his side
Two armies collide each seeking the fame
Of placing a W next to their giants name
I picked war to place this under
because I had no idea what to put
it under. open for suggestions.
Copyright © Michael Jordan | Year Posted 2008
To the fighting men and women and to all military personnel,
I only want to wish for you safety and God keep you well.
We are proud of what you do and you are always in our thoughts and mind,
I am working on a weapon too that when you shoot someone with it they turn
from mean to kind.
My Mean To Kind (M.T.K.) weapon is nearly done.
I’m in a hurry so I can produce enough for everyone.
Just point my M.T.K. and zap them once or twice.
The more the zap the more the nice.
No more blood will either side ever let,
Maybe just an honest days worth of sweat.
How cool will that be to finally bury the grudge,
And sit down with your enemy over a hot chocolate sundae with fudge.
Instead of a hateful staring glare,
Just zap him once and end warfare.
Heck I may just zap myself again,
I’ll zap you too and you can be my friend.
Copyright © Ronald Bingham | Year Posted 2007
As I think back to yesterday,
my vivid recall of your days of play.
I can still see you laughing as you ride your bike,
and all those expressions for the things you liked.
Now you are a man, and you stand so proud,
as you salute your commanders among the crowd.
Soon you will leave me for a far a way land,
filled with violence, and miles of sand.
Your dream has always been, to serve, and protect,
my son so proud of his country, with no regrets.
I pray for your safety, while wiping my tears,
your only nineteen, I can't hide my fears.
So tomorrow you will leave me, and your dreams fulfilled,
but you will always be my baby, and my life you thrilled.
Copyright © Christy Hardy | Year Posted 2007
Historically accurate, narrative poem
27 November 1868, on the banks of the Washita River
Dawn’s peaceful first light streaks the eastern skies,
belying the horror of a marauding force of horses and men,
silently stealing over new fallen snow preparing
to deliver a fateful blow to the Cheyenne camp below.
The silence is broken when bugles sound the charge
over frozen ground, against a sleeping village that
having complied with every previous unjust demand
thought themselves safe from Custer’s command, deployed
in three columns according to plan, to charge from the west
and the village front, while Maj. Elliot’s column blocked
escape to the east. With the Washita river to their back,
there was no place for chief Black Kettle and his peaceful
band to escape the attack. Braves, women and children, it
made no difference, no preference was shown or quarter
given, most were slaughtered while their lodges burned,
though soon against other creatures the killing would be turned.
Black Kettle reached the river but lost his life while attempting
to cross over with his wife. The lucky few that did survive the
bloody strife and fled across the river to the ridge beyond,
below which their pony herd grazed, soon were filled with
dread and fully amazed when at Custer’s command the entire
herd was shot dead. But by now from other encampments
further east, many Cheyenne Arapaho, and Kiowa braves,
drawn to the sound of guns in the early dawn, were massing
on the hill beyond, milling and buzzing like angry bees, singing
and chanting prayer songs for their dead, filling the soldiers with
a fearful dread. So Custer broke off the engagement and began
to withdraw, but the stage had been set for another day-
June 25, 1876-
when at the Little Big Horne the debt owed for this atrocious
act, Custer and the 7th in full would pay. Meanwhile, as a
prelude it might seem, Maj. Elliot and his column, trapped without
a chance, were wiped out to a man by the Indian’s western advance.
Copyright © Curtis Forsythe | Year Posted 2017
What Kind of People Are We
In a Shakespearean sense of tragedy and doubt the well-used
“To Be or Not To Be” from Hamlet is not the question I shall
discuss in this narrative. Rather, I shall consider a few things
concerning the current Middle Eastern and European migrant
situation that has riveted the attention of the countries in those
regions as well as the rest of the world. And it’s my opportunity
to reflect on some of the things that have occurred (and are still
occurring right now), that I find quite troubling and morally
offensive to me as concerned person and citizen.
As a writer and poet, and as a moral human being, I can say
that I was truly shocked at the sight of an innocent, young Syrian
refugee boy named “Aylan Kurdi,” who had drowned and was lying
face down on a Turkish beach near a resort with his head turned
slightly on its right side, as the ebb and flow of the salted waves
pushed and pulled on his little body. A real tragedy for sure that
might have been prevented, if humane, responsible, and responsive
migrant immigration policies had been in place so his father
would not have been compelled to put his wife and both of his
sons—who all drowned together—on that fateful boat at the very
mercy of ruthless and evil human traffic smugglers.
The horrendous scenes played over and over on the 24-hour news
cycle of the migrants and their innocent children from Syria, Iraq,
Turkey, Afghanistan, and other countries being treated like cattle
(or even less than cattle), and indiscriminately pushed around and
tear-gassed by unfriendly and unwelcoming jack-booted Hungarian
Rendorség (Police) were certainly most shocking and disgustingly
revulsive by both their malicious tenor and insidious intent. The
actions also of some right-wing Hungarian demonstrators hurling
loud and abusive comments at the refugees was also quite tragic
and disturbing. I found the actions of the Hungarian Police under
the direction of Prime Minister Viktor Orban to be similarly
reminiscent of the actions of Hitler’s Gestapo and Sturmabteilung
or the SA Troops after 1933 in Nazi Germany. Shame on them!
Shame on them! This is the same old tired bigotry and stupidity
on display today.
Despite these despicable actions of the Hungarian Police and many
of Mr. Orban’s governmental officials, a number of Hungarian
citizens still showed their kindness and humanity in helping the
migrants at various junctures on the autobahn as they trekked
toward the Austrian border in route ultimately to Germany. This
caught my obvious attention as well.
For me, the “so-what?” here turns ultimately upon the following
philosophical and human question: “What Kind of People Are We?”
The migrant problem as we know is largely the result of the massive
displacement of people that has occurred (and is still occurring) in
in the war-torn countries in the Middle East and in certain areas of
Southeast Asia. This tragedy is one of many of our world’s current
and future 21st-century challenges. How each of us as “concerned
citizens,” in consonance with the policies and actions of the various
governments in the countries we each live under, will certainly
play a role in reflecting in the end the kind of people we really are.
For me, the nationalistic actions of the right-wing parties and
extremists, in many countries (including the United States) and
particularly now in Europe, provide no real solution at all, and
become a convenient excuse for many people to forsake their
conscience and basic humanity—and to stick their heads in the
sand like a bunch of frightful ostriches lost in the reveries of
their hate and prejudice, and disgraceful cowardice! There can
be no apology and justification for this ever! This type of
behavior is a deep-seated cancer ever-lurking in the genes of
our human society and in mankind’s soul—awaiting its chance
to metastasize and reek its horrible destruction upon its victims.
The point I’m driving at is this: The current responsible actions
of a number of world leaders, to particularly highlight those of
the European Union, appear to be taking several of the right steps
in helping these refugee migrants and their families undergoing
this terrible strife forced upon them by the tyranny of war and the
resultant poverty and dislocation. Being stupid, hateful, and clearly
prejudiced as some people and certain governmental leaders are in
our global community today is not the answer and it never will be!
To people who really do care about this ongoing migrant tragedy,
it’s time to rally and act in support of local, regional, and worldwide
efforts to help these migrant people and their families so afflicted
by poverty, disease, war, injury, death, and territorial displacement.
For me, I desire to make my voice heard loud and clear as a writer,
poet, and concerned world citizen on this matter and in my own
most humble way. Keep in mind that many of us are descendants
of families who at one time or another were migrants from other
countries escaping the whip and lash of cruel dictators and their
terrible regimes masquerading as legitimate governments of the
In my estimation, the kind of people we should be or aspire to be
are those who relish the winds of freedom, the certainty of justice,
the spirit of friendship, the values of fairness and fair play, the
magnificence of humanity, the desire for cultural diversity and
inclusion, and the love of our fellow man under the very eyes
of God Himself.
What kind of people are we? With this, I rest my case.
Gary Bateman, Copyright © All Rights Reserved,
September 11, 2015 (Narrative)
Copyright © Gary Bateman | Year Posted 2015
Dear General Eisenhower:
Sir, you are a man of great wisdom and foresight
Is this why you made sure photographs were taken
photographs of mass graves stuffed with rotting bodies
mass graves of naked men, women, and yes...children
herded into what they were led to believe were showers
yet not cleansing showers, but showers of deadly, lethal gas?
Slaughtered only because of their suspected racial heritage
because they were part of a monster’s master plan
a plan to breed a 'superior race' of blond, blue eyed robots
marching in lock-step to his insane rants of propaganda?
General, could your reason have been that you knew
could you have possibly understood:
that there is an eternal battle between good and evil
that Satan and his servants are unwavering, relentless
that someday some would deny.....
that it ever happened?
**General Eisenhower realized that someday there would be those who would
deny the Holocaust ever occurred, therefore he took action. Local citizens were
made aware of the atrocities, and pictures were taken.
Copyright © Tim Ryerson | Year Posted 2014
She sits beside the fire
As failing embers dim.
Lost smoke trails up the chimney . .
Like dreams she’d shared with him.
She sits and grieves for children
That never will be born.
Because his life was briefly lived,
There’s darkness in each dawn.
She thinks of how he looked that day
When last they had embraced . .
Young and handsome, unafraid,
Of perils he would face.
While she must stand there brave and strong-
To meet each day with hope.
She kept her outlook bright and clear,
She’d done her best to cope.
He’d left her for a war, you see . .
So proud and full of fire.
His country and his flag came first,
“Stay free” his great desire.
For on the day the towers fell,
He vowed to God above . .
To do his best to keep 'Her' safe,
This country that he loved.
Then in the fiery sun of May,
In a land beyond this shore . .
He laid him down and shed his blood;
She'd see his face no more.
Now time has passed since learning
Of the sorrow she must bare.
Grief still raw as at the first . .
No lessening of despair.
Her anger now replaced by voids
Of empty time and thought.
A life now full of nothingness;
Is what his death has wrought.
Summer’s past and then the fall,
Now winter cold and sad.
She sits beside the fire
And remembers all they had.
She can’t remember springtime
And renewal of her life.
Surely this must come one day
With the lessening of her strife.
She can’t remember laughter
Or smiling from her heart.
But God will refund gifts like this;
In time He’ll do His part.
It’s then she'll come to realize
That her love is safe and well.
He’s in a place far better
Than the land in which he fell.
Then she will grow to honor
The love that sent him there.
That day she’ll fall on bended knee
And speak to God in prayer.
Then life will once again become
A wonder to be lived . .
Touched by wisps of sadness
When remembering his gift.
Love and children will be hers,
Then joy and laughter too.
She will know that he looks down
And smiles upon his view.
For he is always with her
Even though he’s not in sight.
He’s in the heartbeat of our land,
He’s in our country’s might.
He’s in the vastness of the plains,
In mountains capped with snow.
He’s everywhere that freedom rings;
He’s where 'The Brave Ones' go.
Copyright © Diane Lefebvre | Year Posted 2015
He returned home from the war, but he did not stay,
For he returns to the war that he must fight every day;
He keeps in silence the torments that rage inside
As they are tethered to the horrors that he must hide.
He returned home from the war, but still in his mind
Are the acts of destruction so vividly defined.
O’, there is no more reality, for hell has taken its toll
From the wages of a war that now burdens his soul!
He abandoned the war for a tranquil home,
But onto the battlefield he returns to roam;
And within his mind the fallen have come to retire
As languishing ghosts from the smoke and the fire.
He now suffers the despair that has come forth to define
The images of war that rage in his mind;
He hears the voices each night from the darkness inside
That resound from the horrors that he must hide.
He returned home from the war, but only to find,
The ghosts of a war that now lurk in his mind.
He does not speak of these things that haunt inside,
So he endures the anguish that he must hide.
He returned home from the war, but he cannot escape,
And he’s become an effigy with a monstrous shape,
O’ he hates the regrets; he hates what lingers inside
Where the torments of war shall forever reside!
Copyright © Robert Liam McCallum | Year Posted 2015
King Leonidas at
Copyright © Jesse Jones | Year Posted 2007
I was in-processing my Army unit in Germany when the fortieth anniversary of D-Day happened; but, alas, I couldn't leave. I wanted so much to be there to meet the old surviving veterans, to shake their hands and hear their stories. I had read accounts of D-Day-- June 6th, 1944. I had already seen several times the film The Longest Day, based on the book by Cornelius Ryan.
Eventually my family followed me back to Germany, and we later took a vacation that included Normandy.
We visited Sainte-Mere-Eglise, and I pointed out the manekin of Private john Steele--the paratrooper that had gotten stuck on the church's steeple.
We visited the upper German fortifications of Point Du Hoc, where Army Rangers fought their way up impossible cliffs.
We paid our respects at the US war cemetery on Omaha Beach, and my sons and I walked where so many Americans had died to free Europe.
My wife was very somber and respectful at these sites; she is French, and grew up hearing stories of the German occupation.
I often still watch on June 6th either The Longest Day, or Saving Private Ryan, and try to imagine my forebears on those beaches.
Copyright © Mark J. Halliday | Year Posted 2015
With thanks to Alfred Lord Tennyson.
"Charge" they said, and charge they led
from out of a dry desert wadi;
every man of the Light Horse Brigade
out of the falling sun thundered!
Their pulsing veins - their loosened reins -
toward the wells of Beersheba
rode the brave eight hundred
In gallop stride they fought and died
on mighty Walers champing!
Every man in the Light Horse Regiment
faced a foe greater numbered.
Their rifles cocked - their bayonets locked -
onward the wells of Beersheba
rode the brave eight hundred
Again and again the Lighthorsemen
the Turkish lines outflanked;
every man of the Mounted Infantry
of horse and rider wondered.
In squadron raid - in great crusade -
forward the wells of Beersheba
rode the brave eight hundred
And across the sands into their hands
the Ottoman guns fell silent;
every man in the Desert Mounted Corps
the battle trenches plundered!
With martial force - on valiant horse -
toward the wells of Beersheba
rode the brave eight hundred
With God they strode, to victory rode,
with emu plumes in their hats;
every man of the Expeditionary Force
sat his saddle or lay sundered!
Like Gideon of old - their trusty fold -
onward the wells of Beersheba
rode the brave eight hundred
On horizon's red light, an heroic sight,
in clouds of smoke and dust;
every man of the Light Horse Brigade
across the desert thundered.
The legend tells of Beersheba's wells -
how the march on Jerusalem
to glory led all eight hundred
Copyright © Keith Trestrail | Year Posted 2014
Dad, why are those men carrying flags?
Because it's a parade
To honor our country
Then the little boy asked,
Were you an Army man?
Yes, I was.
Now look straight ahead to the Flag son.
Why do the Army men in wheelchairs
Have ribbons on their chests?
They're for bravery son
Do you have any?
I wasn't as brave as them.
Now look straight ahead to the Flag son.
Can I be a soldier one day?
Only if you grow up big and strong
Stand tall and straight
Have a steady hand
With good eyes
And aren't afraid
Then you can be a soldier.
Sitting around the kitchen table
Listening to their fathers and uncles talk of the days when they were young
Boys grow up
Listening to the glories of war
Adventure and camaraderie
And guns and things.
Years later another war begins
From old wounds never healed
Young boys become men
And answer the call
During the war
Soldiers slog on
Mired in mud
Deep in fight
They obey this
And do that
But no one wants
To see a soldier
On his back.
Politicians will say
The outcome of war
Rests with the people
But once the war starts
And the killings begin
Politics becomes business
Dirty tricks a diversion
And truth a casualty.
Who is in charge?
No one answers
Reasons not given
Only lies and
And the voice at the top
Has no blame.
But one thing is certain
When all is said
There will be bloodshed and
Ask the old men
Who know about war
And drink to memories of long ago
Boys were led to believe
Stories made of lies
The simple truth
Is fathers lied
And soldiers died.
Copyright © Edmund Siejka | Year Posted 2009
Arabic Poem by: Riyadh Al-Ghareeb*
Translated into English by:
Inaam Al-Hashimi (Gold_N_Silk)
It was not his idea
He did not wave to the sundown of his life
Quite simply, he let life go by
He was the only one who did not care about the war
Rather, he listened to music
And wrote poems
Shells were falling all around him..
Not once, he thought about death
Nor he paid attention to getting old in the mirror
All that he cared about
Was a woman he imagined loving him
And waiting for someone who may come back
Carrying a small snippet
Emblazoned with the script
From extreme madness “
He lived in his illusion
Even as he became a poet.
When his life was clotting
And nightfall of life was waving to him
All that was going on around him
Was not his choice
And the life he encountered
Was not his life..
He tried to get rid of his blue beard
And bitter tears
Near the nearest war
of his country’s
A country that has become
Addicted to wars.
He let his hair grow long
His dark skinned face
Was on the verge of revealing nightly starvation
At noontime, his children were panting
After a lifeless Dinar..
His final poem
Was laden with the grief of the world
But that world did not care about what was going on..
In his only room
The smell of onions mixed
With the smell of the empty pots;
Was the most beautiful memory in a country
It's his life
That he wanted to be
A part of his ration card,
His birth record
And the rest of his poems.
“Woe to the ruin!”
Removing the dust from a painting of him
Made, in a stolen moment,
By a painter who died two wars ago.
He was laughing
And holding a drink with an innocent cheer
As, above his head, birds in the somber colors of the sky were flying
Suggesting the he was important
And his life was of interest to others.
He flicked his tears
And on the tile of his room floor
He saw wars reproduce,
He saw his children go to a new war
He saw his wife coughing her years
And said to himself
Was not my idea
It is a naive game.
Let me keep on this road
At the end, I may find paper
For my friends to wrap me with
Like the oldest statue
Standing on the way of passers-by
And the country!!!!!!
Translated by: Em. Prof. Inaam Al-Hashimi
* Riadh Al-Ghareeb is a poet from Iraq
Copyright © Inaam Al-Hashimi | Year Posted 2014
It was the day I wanted the most
Yet dreaded as the worst,
Seeing the jumpmaster’s eyes
Way up there in the sky,
Waiting for the scream
“This is a paratroopers’ dream
Stand in the door—lean and mean!”
C130 paratrooper’s Jet, 1500 feet above earth
M16 Weapon by my side, ready to hit the dirt
Knees bent as a dog’s leg on the ledge
Crackling nerves on screeching edge
Cotton dried mouth like a Sahara’s wedge
Soldier before me threw up his lunch
Stomach flipping—fear gripping
Paratrooper’s static lines scraping, moving
Shinny brand new paratrooper’s boots
Shivering to a shuffling groove
Trembling to its new roots
Cold palms slippery from sweating
Camouflaged face twitching like electric shocking
Eyes like a road map dredged with red
Boots shuffling towards the elliptical edge
Heard the jumpmaster’s words
“Go, go, go—jump soldier!”
I felt like a lonely hanging leaf
Growing from the side of a cliff
Just dangling in the breeze
Like a trapeze with distance in between
The moment of truth arrived
Saw the green paratrooper’s light
Heard the Jumpmaster’s voice—“Go!”
Cannonball leap into the rushing breeze
Wings of angels—still praying all the more
Parachute opened above—“Puff!”
Then I knew from the Lord
As I descended safely below
I am still His beloved!
Copyright © Joseph Spence Sr | Year Posted 2010
The first time I saw my father I was a year and 8 months old. He had returned home for a short respite before shipping out to England to prepare for the invasion. It was the early spring of 1944. World War II was raging and my father was caught up in the effort to literally save the free world.
I sat on a sea blue linoleum floor with a red stripe border. I was in the hall of my mom's parent's house. The two very special grandparents I was fortunate to have thru to adulthood. I spent many of my early days there during the liberation of Europe. My mom worked full time to support the two of us.
In front of me was a door to the bathroom. The door behind me lead downstairs to a lower flat and then to the outside. On my left were doors to the two bedrooms and on my right archways to the living room and the kitchen. Two women, my mom and my aunt were sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. I heard one of them say, “why don't you lay down for a while, Chevy!” I'm not sure what his given name was. Carmen or Francisco depending on which of his brothers or sisters you asked. He didn't seem to care either way. He signed his name “Frank F. Grasso” and that is the way we buried him. Everyone called him Chevy, from his original nickname “The Little Shaver” and “Shavey”, his two older brothers had given him growing up.
I heard him walk up behind me and stop. I have no memory of were he came from. I turned my head to look over my shoulder and saw his two feet with laced brown shoes. Two leather spats that covered his ankles ended above my head, just below his knees. I had to bend my head back as far as I could to see what to me looked like a monstrous man, and I saw his face looking back and smiling down on me. He didn't say anything. He just turned and walked into a bedroom and stretched out on the bed. I could see his brown shoes and spats hanging off to one side.
The next time I remember seeing him was at his mothers wake. (His father passed years before I was born.) He was granted an early discharge when she became sick in 1945. He had made it past the assault on to Omaha Beach, the hedge rows in France, thru the battles in Belgium and Holland and all the way to Hitler's Bunker in Germany and Germany's surrender. He was an artillery spotter thru the campaign. He commanded an early radar system, a huge drop bed trailer truck with a giant radar antenna mounted on it. His unit straddled the front lines to give warning of enemy air attacks. He carried shrapnel in his leg from a hand grenade to his death and suffered a cracked vertebrate in his neck from an artillery blast. He was hospitalized and returned to action after each injury. He never received metals for either injury and I don't ever remember hearing him complain about that. Had his mother not taken ill he would have been on his way to the Pacific to fight the Japanese.
I remember standing in my grandmothers driveway. The wake was in the parlor of her home, which was the custom in those days. I was too young to view her. Just 3 years old. I was looking out into the street thinking about death when my father came out of the house. He walked down the driveway to where I was standing. I turned and looked up into his face. He looked down on me smiling and never said a word.
The memories are still vivid.
written September 22, 2016
Copyright © Francis J Grasso | Year Posted 2016
For what's it's worth, here's my recollection
Of my young years growing up in Canada in the 40s
Right off the bat, you may think the war years
Were difficult for me and my family
With rationing of food and the everyday necessities of life
I remember my dad dividing up our food in the pantry
And when we used up our share of a certain item like butter
Before the next allotment, we did without
This may sound difficult to believe
This is my recollection... but it wasn't that much of a hardship
This self-imposed rationing was a voluntary thing
No ration police breaking down our door to check us out
As a young lad, they were exciting times
The good guys against the bad guys
We were too young to realize this wasn't a game
People of all ages were dying horrible deaths
It all seemed so distant, so far away
Even though a couple of German U-Boats were detected
A far distant inland down the St. Lawrence River
My memory of that momentous day when both wars ended
Was an overwhelming feeling of joy and exultation
Passed down from the celebrating adults
We in Canada didn't have it bad
But let's all hope and pray that cooler heads prevail
And we don't have another one that could be a war to end all wars
A cataclysmic event so devastating
It would end life on earth as we know it!
© Jack Ellison 2014
Copyright © Jack Ellison | Year Posted 2014
She is sinking,
Sinking into the abyss of despair.
Her brain is striken And her mind is stifled.
She has been enervated.
Her integrity is being manipulated,
Irrationality acts as spring board to moral decadence,
Opacity then entangles her efficiency
While her eminence sleeps.
She became vulnerable.
Poor thing, she is raped, maimed and looted.
Has she not been violated?
Does her plight warrants a revolution?
However, she demonstrated.
She pleaded with her predators.
All these were to no avail
Her future seems gloomy
As the predators succeeded in orchestrating yet another tragedy.
Engulfed in this evident realm of adversity.
She sits and ponders
With tears flooding her miserable cheeks.
She then cried,
I am sinking,
Sinking into the abyss of despair.
Copyright © Ivan Cole | Year Posted 2012