Lessons of War

This is a Pindaric ode about war.

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.

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.

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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