I’ve marched out in a driving rain.
I’ve knelt on bloodied fields in pain.
I’ve fought through mud up to my waist,
and I’ll never forget its taste.
My mind still calculates the cost,
calls nightly roll of those we lost,
and sends them to me as I sleep.
There’s nothing I can do to keep
those faces from their nightly show,
but there’s a certain truth I know:
that were my nighttime comrades gone,
I’d be bereft that they’d moved on
and left me here alone to face
a world that’s grown a stranger place,
that rarely slows its beat to see
this relic curiosity.
– – – – Note – – – –
On Memorial Day weekend 2006, I was watching shows on the History Channel. On one of them, a veteran of WWII in the Pacific theater of operations described how he constantly saw the faces of his friends who died in the battles. He said he used to wish they’d leave him alone, but that now they were his only companions and he didn’t know what he’d do without them. The way he said it struck me; plain words clearly coming straight from his soul. His pain, longing, and sense of loss stayed with me, and resulted in what you see here. This is his story, but it is dedicated to all who have served.