i am an old soldier
the scars i have
and the wars
each scar you see
for each war
has been for you
so my blood
runs in your veins
by some battlefield medic
that you have
only read about
not cared about
as you stood in line
holding the morning news
in hands now ink-stained
hands that you washed
as if the ink was blood
and you wash them again
when i returned home
scrubbing me from your memory
as well as any thought
of your part
in those deaths
upon the cross
The reference to the morning paper and Starbucks is very powerful!
Love how the photo contrasts with the idea of Starbucks in the poem.
Coffee at 1:40am anyone?
Always an enjoyable visit…
we don’t see it do we??? No more than people did in any time in history. People die so that I can drink Starbucks and I think I’m making a sacrifice.
appreciate your depth my friend
That was powerful. Thanks
Hi Martin (can I call u so?),
Ur thoughts are profound…. and ur expression crisp but explicit…
“each scar you see
for each war
has been for you” are very touching!!
Yes, the wars fought for me that i did not want become something i don’t want to think about. A fuss at first and then when it has no effect a hard silence. Where is the image from? It is a story in itself.
The image is from my collection of old books and photographs…this images is from
Character Sketches of Romance,Fiction and The Drama
To add to all that have been said about waiting in line in Starbuck;
when I am in a crowd or in the subway I always think how many interesting stories people around me lived in their lives…. we only look at people’s shape or clothes but we never thing about who they might be…heros or villains.
For once I am going to abstain from producing a philosophical, cynical or sentimental comment, and just say: I loooongggggg for a frappuccino! And now I am off catering to your desires on my blog, dearest Charles. So you want poetry. I hope I can deliver it to you in form of a short update on my life these days.
Wow! Incredibly powerful, & I loved listening to you read!
I would like to feature you as a “guest squeeze” at The Juice Bar.
Anything of yours that you would like. My email is email@example.com. Send me something there or let me know if I can copy & paste this, credit & link it to your sight.
“you wash them again
when i returned home
washing me from your memory”: such powerfully sad despair; this literally caused my heart to ache. I was very moved by this poem, so beautifully expressed. Heartspell
Like others, I was moved by your poem at visceral and skin levels. I love the way you read it – tempo, speed, pronunciation and occasional emphasis all with just the right quantity and not over-dramatized.
You changed the word washing to scrubbing when you read out loud. I wonder which was the one you finally decided worked best?
To me the word scrubbing seems more of a conscious effort of will – gotta get that war business off my hands, damn it – can’t face my part in your soldiering or in the war ‘being.’
The word washing seems almost unconscious, as if war happens by default so I wash it away, like the dust on my shelf, with no feeling of responsibility or care and don’t even realise that only if I choose to intervene will it ever stop.
When some people make comments about those that have served in wars, I hope they really understand the depth. I like this one.
You changed the word washing in the printed form to scrubbing in the spoken voice. I wonder, which one was your final decision to keep?
Washing seems to me like an unconscious act, as if war happens by default, and I’m not even aware that I have any responsibility or choice whether it exists.
Whereas scrubbing makes me feel as if there is an angry element of: ‘I have to get this guilt off my hands now’ or ‘Damn it, I’m not interested in knowing my part of this bloody war crap’ or ‘Don’t disturb my bubble,’ both of which are very conscious acts.
This poem got me at visceral and skin levels, running chills down my spine.
I’m leaving tomorrow for 16 days in England. I won’t be near cyberspace, so will have to catch up on all your work when I get back. I look forward to reading your daily posts – they are such good thought and soul fodder.
Thanks…I did change the original draft from “washing” to “scrubbing” for the very reason you noted…I corrected my error on the post…I really shouldn’t write so late at night. 😉 Again many thanks for your comments and have a wonderful time in England…when I visited we had unusually excellent weather for the time of year…sunny almost every day.
It is a great coincidence that today you posted this poem and I met a new customer, a WW2 veteran. He is nearly 91 and I will leave you with something he said about war: “When we were overseas fighting Hitler, they told us daily, this is the war to end them all.” Then he smirked and said: “We all knew they were lying, we were soldiers and we knew war never ends ever.”
Beautifully done slpmartin, just splendid. Tell you what, I’m going to print this out and let him read it okay? He would appreciate your appreciation of a soldier’s gift to the world.
That would be a wonderful honor for me…I hope he appreciates it.
tight poem…those that read about war and wash it from their hands…ouch.
I have two, twin sons, who make sacrifices each day for us. For all. This one hit home for me and I thank you, for letting your pen wander over this much hallowed ground and sharing it with us.
Your words honor me and I so appreciate them.
well done Martin , a strong poem indeed.a great tribute to veterans.
The voices of old and forgotten soldiers can be the loudest and most profound. Excellent poem.
This is a great poem…I sent your site to my uncles who are all in the service.
You honor me with such actions…I hope they like this poem…again many thanks!
you really have your own perspective…
I just discovered that your poems also comes with an audio file of you reading it. That’s a very nice touch. Very personalize. Everything about your blog is well thought of.
Thank you for visiting mg blog as well.
Not all wars are for freedom
but all soldiers are to be honored and not forgotten.
It is too easy to wash hands,great poem.
You pack a poetic punch. I like this poem but it made me uneasy, too…which (I think) is the point.
Super poem, Martin, so passionate and evocative. Great work!
Amazing! Some of your best work speaks volumes between the lines. In this case, between great lines… not the ones at the Starbucks drive through!
I don’t care how powerful this poem is.
It makes me feel pity like I’m the soldier.
I like this one.
Wow! So powerful, so moving and compelling, the contrast between standing in line waiting for your coffee and fighting in war is vivid. You said it all, words every soldier earnestly deserves and words everyone must hear.