David A. Carpenter

The years have passed and slipped away
Like waning light at close of day.
Yet remnants of our past exist,
And horrors seen, they still exist

The innocence when we began
Has vanished like our youth which ran
Like piss and blood and other gore
Which stained our hands from wounds we bore,
From comrades bodies lifted out
To aid our lives at safe redoubts.

The blackened pieces of charred remains,
the snow white teeth at top, unstained
Where skull once was, with thoughts of love
Did not foresee the gentle shove
Into the bag with other pieces
His body's fragment parts, deceased.

The bonds of friendship, a comrades love
Forged in combat, now borne above,
the wounds we earned in firefights
will never leave us in the night.
When earth is quiet and light is gone
THEN, we remember, on and on.

The fear we felt, it never left
burned a void in us, of love bereft.
When we returned and tried to fit
Back home, our loved ones came to sit
With us and bring us back
From horrors seen and comrades dead.
The stain unseen, yet felt,
Our souls we lost, we bled
That blessed bond, the strand
Which binds us to mankind.
To take another's life: we're damned.

Our self reproach, our inner nag,
Our most feared critic, that body bag
Is his, not mine, and why is that?
I could have been hit while lying flat,
Or standing up, or running away. I wanted to
But had to stay
And guard the flank
Were they coming up the bank?
Our orders were to stand and fight.
And so our tracers pierced the night.

Now light returns, the earth's alive
Another night, I've still survived.
People are up and walking around
Like nothing has happened on this ground.
We're back at home it seems to me,
But can that ever really be?

Can I ever return from guts and gore
And drink away that terror of war,
That fear of war that eats away
But subsides a bit at break of day?

I wonder......

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