Lessons of War

This is a Pindaric ode about war.

Strophe
Because I had a patriotic bent,
When duty called, I simply heard and went,
For I believed that freedom had a price,
And was disposed to be that sacrifice;
I longed for purpose, rank, respect, and fame,
And I was eager for the army’s game;
A coward I was not, I had no fear,
As far as soldiers go, I had no peer;
I followed orders, and I gave commands,
So proud and strong, I bore the war’s demands.

Antistrophe
But there I was, just lying in a bed,
For I was shot, and almost left for dead;
And all my broken bones cried out in pain,
And all my former thoughts seemed quite insane;
I could not fathom why I risked my life,
I knew not how my death could help my wife;
I once believed that I could be a man,
If I was brave and grasped the master plan;
But all I earned were painful wounds and stress,
And doctors couldn’t heal my inner mess.

Epode
But after days were spent in doubt and haze,
The fog began to lift, with my malaise;
I searched again for meaning and for hope,
To find new thoughts so I could learn to cope;
And what I found was something good to share:
The burden that I had I needn’t bear;
The war I thought was outer was within,
And now I know I’ll never fight again;
Because all conflicts are a dream of night,
Forgiveness put my past clean out of sight.

(written c. July 2019)

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