The Ghosts of War

At Ease

Perhaps,
The Ghosts of War
annually arise
in camaraderie
to make a toast
to lost limbs and senses
and battles never won.
They raise a glass
of whiskey or stout
as they lie about on grass
between the stones
that bear their names.

Ten hut!

They march in time
(for old times’ sake)
as medals clink
like bottles
at a bar.
A few may even crack a smile
or laugh, but all the while
the haunted looks they
keep well hid
cannot be far.

Dismiss

And when the party’s done,
they slap each other on the back,
blow a kiss to one,
and all who miss them,
then sleep again.

Kathleen Mortensen ©2016

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Tomorrow is November 11 – Never Forget!

Dear Mother (A Son’s Letters from the Front)

Dear Mother,

It’s me, John– a warrior, made
I’m all kitted out
With a gun and a blade
My boots are so heavy
My helmet’s too tight
But I’m ready at last,
To join those in the fight.

Dear Mama,

I’ve only a minute to pen
This letter, before
We march off once again
My boots are so heavy
My helmet’s too tight
But the General says go!
So I’m quelling my fright.

Dear Ma,

This stain’s not a tear from your son
It’s only the oil that I
Used for my gun
My boots are so heavy
My helmet’s too tight
But I must obey orders
When our foe is in sight.

Mom,

I’m so sorry, I’m not coming home
For your Thanksgiving dinner–
I’m off to the Somme
My boots are so heavy
My helmet’s too tight
But I’ve made it so far–
Say my prayers every night.

Ma,

It’s so muddy and
Cold in this trench
Each night as I lie in this
Filth and the stench
My boots are so heavy
My helmet’s too tight
But when dawn comes it’s over
The edge, wrong or right.

Dear…

Kathleen Mortensen©2008

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