May 26, 2014

Two Memorial Day Poems, specifically for Today

By Mark Wachtler

May 26, 2014. (ONN) Perhaps it’s fate that the decades-long corruption at the Veterans Administration is in the headlines again, just in time for Memorial Day. While Americans typically use this day to remember our nation’s soldiers who’ve fallen in war, we’d like to remember those soldiers who’ve fallen because of war. Here’s a never-reported statistic readers may want to ponder - 6,717 US soldiers died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. 82,805 US veterans have killed themselves in the same time period.

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The below poems were originally published here at Whiteout Press in 2012. One is written by Chris Kyte and brought to our attention by a group of veteran wives called Battling Bare. The other is the poem-pledge of the spouses, children and loved ones of those that have returned from war, not quite whole. It was written by Ash Wise, founder of Battling Bare and the wife of a tormented veteran.



The first poem, written by Chris Kyte, was for a friend and veteran named Irey. As the author explained in an interview about the poem, “Most importantly, I wanted Irey to know that someone cared - someone knew what he did. Someone tried to understand his anguish. Someone respected him, cared for him and admired him for his strength, courage and bravery. There are too many Ireys out there - struggling to cope with life after they did jobs that most of us would never do - could never do and that is just not okay for these Soldiers to be suffering like this.”

The second poem, written by Ash Wise, was composed after she and her vet husband sought treatment from the VA. She relays the story about how they were both treated like criminals. They were forcibly separated and her husband was even arrested and charged with a crime. Wise explained, “The last thing a soldier needs is to be separated from his wife. Guys kill themselves because they think they are such a burden to their families.” Ash Wise founded Battling Bare and penned the poem which has taken on the title, ‘Broken by Battle’.

 

Soldier

By Chris Kyte

 

When there were none left to stand along the wall

When none were left who refused to fall

When mortal wounds of blood had dried

When the strength of man had all but died

Merely drawn of flesh and bone

There you stood, strong as stone

 

When hope could not be found in sight

When shadows over ran the light

When the world seemed dark and full of fear

When we felt abandoned and none were near

 

And we were left to crawl alone

You were there, strong as stone

 

When life was large and harsh assuming

When rage was hot and all consuming

When other truths would trip or stumble

When other values fail and crumble

And faith was a patchwork poorly sewn

Still you stood, strong as stone

 

When you were weary but honor bound

When you were scared but held your ground

When you were hurt but did not turn back

When you’d had enough but took up the slack

 

Rest assured it will be known

You are a soldier, strong as stone

Broken by Battle

By Ash Wise

 

Broken by battle,

Wounded by war,

 

My love is forever -

To you this I swore.

 

I will -

Quiet your silent screams,

Help heal your shattered soul,

Until once again,

My love,

 

You are whole

 

*From Whiteout Press - We’d love to include a link to the Battling Bare website, but it’s been down for over a year now. We pray everything’s okay with our good friends there.


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