How vainly I have striven.

The Soldier

The door awaits a knock; I am now alone in this 12 by 11 foot room.
I faced the enemy walking into rapid fire on Flanders fields, shrapnel in my bone reminds me, but now I face the enemy of loneliness, a desolation where I feel the need to shake coffins. Family and friends look out at me from 70-year-old photos, when the empires of the long setting sun gave us generous time, and our English heaven smiled.

The enemy I now face is a cold calculated indifference made of concrete.

Even the double glazed windows stifle hope; at least a draft of air is real, blowing the curtains? Let me see, please Christ let me see the distant scene, that I may know comfort’s blanket, as I await this body’s grotesque decay, and see the thing I must forget.

I do not blame the young men and women I see below my seventh floor window, who race their cars and throw stones at our windows, no, I don’t blame them for not knowing that no one can imagine another persons Hell, and I, in this iron solitude am somehow thankful for their vandal company.

These young, who know nothing
of Dante’s playground,
and have not known
the naked exploding heart fear
where we prayed; “Thy Kingdom come”
and rosary beads broke
at the sound of battle thunder.

They too must come to know the circus of the politician’s game, and helplessness among the living dead, and another terror contrived, but, I pray they don’t.

Dear God take my soul tonight, now I declare my ignorance of all! How vainly I have striven!

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