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(a poem) FOR THE DEFENDERS – YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL HEROES

A Re-blog…For Veteran’s Day:

**I began writing this poem way back during Operation Desert Storm. It was finally completed in 2009. I leave the copyright at 2009 because the poem hasn’t been changed much since. I wrote it for the people and animals who’ve died in “wars” for us since our beginning. I always like to share it somewhere on Memorial Day, Independence Day, & Veterans Day.**  I hope you enjoy reading it. Someone once called this poem “profound.” I don’t know about that but I consider it the best piece I’ve ever written in my life…and the best piece I’ll ever write. I doubt I can ever top it. Nor do I want to.

 

American Flag Eagle

 

FOR THE DEFENDERS – YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL HEROES, by Wanda S. Paryla

 

This work was written for every hero, past, present and future, of every state and nation:  “Strive to forgive me as I seek forgiveness; seek forgiveness as I strive to forgive, for we are all nothing if not humankind.”  ~Winter NightTiger

 

Some had an easy time, maybe even a good time; many had it insane.  But, they all went, never knowing for sure what consequences it might bring, and that makes them brave.

 

 

FOR THE DEFENDERS– YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL HEROES

I wish only to hold your head in my hands

And tell you I am sorry that you were tortured on foreign lands.

But I am afraid to speak and I dare not touch your face,

For I fear you’ll look upon me with disgrace.

Young and beautiful heroes –

Defenders of a government’s cause –

Without questions,

Without pause.

 

Pardon me

For my naivety.

For I was not there to see;

Had I been, I’m sure I would have lost it all to insanity.

Hear my plea,

Pity me, forgive me, forgive me!

 

Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Middle East, and in other places, not afar, but right here.

 

That’s where you’ll find their ghosts.

Ghosts of both the living and the dead,

Young and beautiful heroes,

Many Champions whom we have never seen.

People whom the Ass and the Elephant dare not look in the eye

Lest they display cowardice and for the grandest of excuses vie.

 

But, not I – I shall write in ode to you, to the freedom defenders, alive and dead

Who walked on many a foreign land,

Crossed many dark and watery seas,

Who, reluctantly or not, killed many a monster that, once dead, was just another man,

Like he, with unheard cries and pleas.

Oh, the things I wish to say; how they spin around in my head.

 

I dream of looking into your eyes,

Even as my American spirit slowly withers and dies,

For I can never be as you,

An American peoples’ Champion, true.

 

I recognize the heroes – I’ve seen some here, some there,

With their American spirits lost everywhere.

And then, they return to us,

Dead or living,

In boxes or for life, striving,

And the politicians only pretend to care

Because they know – hell, they’ll never ever have to go there.

 

So, here I am,

Sad that I cannot give you empathy

For I have not witnessed first hand

The vile acts of political man

Upon my young and beautiful heroes.

 

I am not even sure if I have a right to offer you sympathy,

So please forgive me,

For I cannot claim to understand

Your suffering and your woes.

 

I wish only to hold your head in my hands

And tell you I am sorry that you were tortured on foreign lands.

But I am afraid to speak and I dare not touch your face,

For I fear you’ll look upon me with disgrace.

I am humbled before you, Champions –

Young and beautiful heroes –

With biting souls

Wrecked with the poison of political scorpions.

 

Your pain could never be eased by another.

No, not by your father, mother, sister or brother, and certainly not by any lover.

Your eyes have seen a wild animal darkness,

That no other person’s sleeping mind would dare dream to harness.

 

Their wars become no good for anyone.

Once it is found that the crusade cannot be won –

They always leave you there then, with praise left undone,

And at just thirty, twenty-one, or as young as eighteen,

They asked you to behold things that, at any age, you should never have seen.

 

They leave behind the real defenders of the cause – taking with them their congressional bets.

The cowards leave you there, deep in the oceans, in stifling jungle-laden lands,

In strange desert countries strewn about their burning sands.

They leave you to die, young and beautiful heroes, without any damned regrets.

 

And, lest they be called failures,

They dare not turn to you a saving hand.

They leave you to your lunacy and wounds, without allowing any cares or cures.

They leave you there, burning, dreaming of easier days and helping hands.

 

I lived not through any wars,

But, I have shared in our government’s alleged reaped rewards.

They don’t feel to owe you a damned thing,

Even as in your head, sickening night terrors ring.

 

But, as – when just a child – my father fought,

I owe you everything.

However, I can offer you naught,

Save with my pen, your praises can I sing,

Through mediocre poetry –

writing being my single grace –

I attempt to offer you dignity,

As I dare imagine my hands touching your beautiful face.

 

You who will never be the same,

I am full of disdain

For the harbinger of your undeserved fate,

And I cry out for a cure to your pain.

It’s the only thing that might ease my hate

Lest I go guiltily insane

And end up myself at hell’s iron gate.

 

To the freedom defenders of now or then,

Those who risk their lives so people worldwide may live dictator free –

As our government has always claimed to us it should be –

Wherever you are, wherever you roam, wherever you die – I pray you’re not alone,

And for you, to the gods of warriors I beg for a safe return to your memories of home.

 

No matter how much time has passed us

Since your terrible war left you restless,

On my heart, you’ll forever be –

Young and beautiful heroes –

As I know that your night terrors

Will never see you free.

 

Do not be ashamed.

Keep your heads high.

Don’t take any blame,

For you have no reasons to deny

Your magnificent valor.

 

The one forgiveness sought here –

Outside of that between warriors –

Is the mercy that I seek from you

For the crimes of my country’s leaders.

 

The Ass and the Elephant owe you a debt –

One, shamefully –

They can never repay.

Forgive me, though, for the courage they lack.

And alas, to me you must make yet another promise,

Please come back,

And this time, say that you’ll stay.

 

I wish only to hold your head in my hands

And tell you I am sorry that you were tortured on foreign lands.

But I am afraid to speak and I dare not touch your face,

For I fear you’ll look upon me with disgrace.

Pardon me

For my naivety.

For I was not there to see;

Had I been, I’m sure I would have lost it all to insanity.

Hear my plea,

Pity me, forgive me, forgive me!

 

The way I remember and the way I know,

Is through television and history books.

This is how I seek young and beautiful heroes,

Of both today and yesteryear –

The freedom defenders who seemed to not fear,

And never knew what it took

Until they had already become history,

By another man’s quest of glory.

 

Defenders of the cause, I must share –

Courage is not the absence of fear,

It is but the conquest of it.

You are true glory,

Armed with many a mighty story –

Young and beautiful heroes

Of today, of yesterday,

Of every day

And I would never deny it.

 

Whether you are dead,

Or still yet cursed with nightmares in your head,

Whether you trudged across frozen Europe,

Or you met with torture in Korea,

Whether you sat in silent madness in the land of the Vietnamese,

Or crawled through the desert sands of Iraq –

You are beautiful heroes.

No matter what they say,

You are the Champions of our way.

 

Your childhood will forever remain

Somewhere far away – left behind –

Carrying on somewhere out there without you, left lame.

Your youth and beauty, and maybe even your mind,

Is where you abandoned the child

To become a person of class, rank and file.

 

And while there will always be some in denial,

There are those of us who shall never put you on trial.

There is no need for you to tell me –

Lest it helps to ease your pain and dread –

But only you can help me to see

What it is that lies deep in your head.

 

I wish I could ease your heart,

But I don’t know where to start.

I know that no words I could ever say,

Could hold your beast at bay.

 

Pardon me

For my naivety.

For I was not there to see;

Had I been, I’m sure I would have lost it all to insanity.

Hear my plea,

Pity me, forgive me, forgive me!

Young and beautiful heroes –

Defenders of a government’s cause –

Without questions,

Without pause.

 

I wish only to hold your head in my hands

And tell you I am sorry you were tortured on foreign lands.

But I dare not touch your face,

For I fear you’ll look upon me with disgrace.

Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Middle East, and in other places, not afar, but right here.

 

That’s where you will find your ghosts…

 

Young and beautiful.

Copyright 2009 Wanda S. Paryla

 

 

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