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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 1/26/2006 10:05:53 AM EDT
The sun beat like a hammer, not a cloud was in the sky.
The mid-day air ran thick with dust, my throat was parched and dry.
With microphone clutched tight in hand and cameraman in tow,
I ducked beneath a fallen roof, surprised to hear “stay low.”

My eyes blinked several times before in shadow I could see,
the figure stretched across the rubble, steps away from me.
He wore a cloak of burlap strips, all shades of grey and brown,
that hung in tatters till he seemed to melt into the ground.

He never turned his head or took his eye from off the scope,
but pointed through the broken wall and down the rocky slope.
“About eight hundred yards,” he said, his whispered words concise,
“beneath the baggy jacket he is wearing a device.”

A chill ran up my spine despite the swelter of the heat,
“You think he’s gonna set it off along the crowded street?”
The sniper gave a weary sigh and said “I wouldn’t doubt it,”
“unless there’s something this old gun and I can do about it.”

A thunderclap, a tongue of flame, the still abruptly shattered;
while citizens that walked the street were just as quickly scattered.
Till only one remained, a body crumpled on the ground,
The threat to oh so many ended by a single round.

And yet the sniper had no cheer, no hint of any gloat,
instead he pulled a logbook out and quietly he wrote.
“Hey, I could put you on TV, that shot was quite a story!”
But he surprised me once again -- “I got no wish for glory.”

“Are you for real?” I asked in awe, “You don’t want fame or credit?”
He looked at me with saddened eyes and said “You just don’t get it.”
“You see that shot-up length of wall, the one without a door?
before a mortar hit, it used to be a grocery store.”

“But don’t go thinking that to bomb a store is all that cruel,
the rubble just across the street -- it used to be a school.
The little kids played soccer in the field out by the road,”
His head hung low, “They never thought a car would just explode.”

“As bad as all this is though, it could be a whole lot worse,”
He swallowed hard, the words came from his mouth just like a curse.
“Today the fight’s on foreign land, on streets that aren’t my own,”
“I’m here today ‘cause if I fail, the next fight’s back at home.”

“And I won’t let my Safeway burn, my neighbors dead inside,
don’t wanna get a call from school that says my daughter died;
I pray that not a one of them will know the things I see,
nor have the work of terrorists etched in their memory.”

“So you can keep your trophies and your fleeting bit of fame,
I don’t care if I make the news, or if they speak my name.”
He glanced toward the camera and his brow began to knot,
“If you’re looking for a story, why not give this one a shot.”

“Just tell the truth of what you see, without the slant or spin;
that most of us are OK and we’re coming home again.
And why not tell our folks back home about the good we’ve done,
how when they see Americans, the kids come at a run.”

You tell ‘em what it means to folks here just to speak their mind,
without the fear that tyranny is just a step behind;
Describe the desert miles they walk in their first chance to vote,
or ask a soldier if he’s proud, I’m sure you’ll get a quote.”

He turned and slid the rifle in a drag bag thickly padded,
then looked again with eyes of steel as quietly he added;
“And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
that we are all that stands between the monsters and the weak.”

Michael Marks
January 25, 2006

God Bless our troops.


Link Posted: 1/26/2006 10:33:28 AM EDT
Very good....

I thought upon reading the title, it might be Kipling...he wrote some real good stuff too....
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 10:39:48 AM EDT
Outstanding!


Link Posted: 1/26/2006 10:43:53 AM EDT

Originally Posted By pzjgr:
Very good....

I thought upon reading the title, it might be Kipling...he wrote some real good stuff too....




WHEN the 'arf-made recruity goes out to the East
'E acts like a babe an' 'e drinks like a beast,
An' 'e wonders because 'e is frequent deceased
Ere 'e's fit for to serve as a soldier.
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!

Now all you recruities what's drafted to-day,
You shut up your rag-box an' 'ark to my lay,
An' I'll sing you a soldier as far as I may:
A soldier what's fit for a soldier.
Fit, fit, fit for a soldier . . .

First mind you steer clear o' the grog-sellers' huts,
For they sell you Fixed Bay'nets that rots out your guts --
Ay, drink that 'ud eat the live steel from your butts --
An' it's bad for the young British soldier.
Bad, bad, bad for the soldier . . .

When the cholera comes -- as it will past a doubt --
Keep out of the wet and don't go on the shout,
For the sickness gets in as the liquor dies out,
An' it crumples the young British soldier.
Crum-, crum-, crumples the soldier . . .

But the worst o' your foes is the sun over'ead:
You must wear your 'elmet for all that is said:
If 'e finds you uncovered 'e'll knock you down dead,
An' you'll die like a fool of a soldier.
Fool, fool, fool of a soldier . . .

If you're cast for fatigue by a sergeant unkind,
Don't grouse like a woman nor crack on nor blind;
Be handy and civil, and then you will find
That it's beer for the young British soldier.
Beer, beer, beer for the soldier . . .

Now, if you must marry, take care she is old --
A troop-sergeant's widow's the nicest I'm told,
For beauty won't help if your rations is cold,
Nor love ain't enough for a soldier.
'Nough, 'nough, 'nough for a soldier . . .

If the wife should go wrong with a comrade, be loath
To shoot when you catch 'em -- you'll swing, on my oath! --
Make 'im take 'er and keep 'er: that's Hell for them both,
An' you're shut o' the curse of a soldier.
Curse, curse, curse of a soldier . . .

When first under fire an' you're wishful to duck,
Don't look nor take 'eed at the man that is struck,
Be thankful you're livin', and trust to your luck
And march to your front like a soldier.
Front, front, front like a soldier . . .

When 'arf of your bullets fly wide in the ditch,
Don't call your Martini a cross-eyed old bitch;
She's human as you are -- you treat her as sich,
An' she'll fight for the young British soldier.
Fight, fight, fight for the soldier . . .

When shakin' their bustles like ladies so fine,
The guns o' the enemy wheel into line,
Shoot low at the limbers an' don't mind the shine,
For noise never startles the soldier.
Start-, start-, startles the soldier . . .

If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white,
Remember it's ruin to run from a fight:
So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,
And wait for supports like a soldier.
Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . .

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!

Rudyard Kipling
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 10:44:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/26/2006 1:59:04 PM EDT by HardShell]
Amen.

As long as we're sharing, my favorite - much older than the first one above but kindred in spirit...


FREEDOM FLIES IN YOUR HEART LIKE AN EAGLE

Dusty old helmet, rusty old gun,
They sit in the corner and wait -
Two souvenirs of the Second World War
That have withstood the time, and the hate.

Mute witness to a time of much trouble.
Where kill or be killed was the law -
Were these implements used with high honor?
What was the glory they saw?

Many times I've wanted to ask them -
And now that we're here all alone,
Relics all three of a long ago war -
Where has freedom gone?

Freedom flies in your heart like an eagle.
Let it soar with the winds high above
Among the spirits of soldiers now sleeping,
Guard it with care and with love.

I salute my old friends in the corner,
I agree with all they have said -
And if the moment of truth comes tomorrow,
I'll be free, or By God, I'll be dead!

. . . Audie Murphy
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 10:45:32 AM EDT
God bless those who stand in the gap...
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 11:42:08 AM EDT
A bump for the boys taking the fight over there.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 11:47:04 AM EDT
Good read.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 11:50:22 AM EDT
Wilfred Owen
Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

THE SOLDIER By Rupert Brooke.
1914.

If I should die, think only this of me,
That' there's some corner of a foreign field,
That is forever England.
There shall be in that rich earth ,a richer dust concealed,
A dust whom England bore,shaped,made aware,
Gave once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers,blest by the suns of home.


Two poems about WWI. Very different messages. Neither poet survived the war. My two favorite poems.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 11:56:56 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 1:54:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By petagunner:
Great read, thank you.



You're welcome.

The real thanks goes to the guys on the line, serving our country.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 3:34:53 PM EDT
High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -

And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 3:41:23 PM EDT
In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 3:45:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Old_Painless:

Originally Posted By petagunner:
Great read, thank you.



You're welcome.

The real thanks goes to the guys on the line, serving our country.



Hear Hear
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 3:47:57 PM EDT
Good post O_P.

Link Posted: 1/27/2006 8:06:49 AM EDT
BTT because, IMHO, this should have gotten more traffic...
Link Posted: 1/27/2006 8:55:58 AM EDT
Great Post.

Link Posted: 1/27/2006 9:15:38 AM EDT
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