We remember servicemen who died at war
but what of their mates freaked to the core
From sights, sounds and smells
Far greater than hells?

We train them to kill
And by giving them this skill
We tear out their soul and send them insane
No idea that this causes eternal pain!

Their partners and offspring
Always live on the edge
Not sure of their anger about to blow
Scared should they come or should they go?

At reunions they drink to oblivion
Only recalling good times they had
Forever avoid talk of killing
Trying to forget they are immortally SAD!

In group therapy they share
First and worst kill whilst they were there
Brains splattered on boots
Family photos personalised ‘gooks’.

Recurring visions of whole villages staked out
VC started with babies, the young, then the stout
Elders left last to watch and cry
Slow screaming torture as kin pray to die!

Sailors who dragged up and down the coast
Firing bombs of phosphorous at most
Knowing they’d killed many families
Whilst both sides slept in their bunks

Transporting young soldiers over to war
Knowing that far less would return home to shore
How do they live knowing all this
Seething with anger and sealed with a kiss …

Pilots dropped bombs but don’t see a face
Their flight schedules set at a pace
Scarce time to reflect and understand
The great slaughter they’ve done first hand

Returning home they don’t sleep at night
Tossing and turning, wanting to fight
Wholesale killing leaves deep scars
These smart young men often die in fast cars

Somalia, Rwanda and Kosovo
Peacekeeping forces had to go
Men trained to kill
Never got to test this skill

Nineteen year olds saw hundreds slaughtered
Young women and children ran to them screaming
Unable by law to fire a bullet!
Heroine and poly drugs seem suitable escape

What hope have these fit, handsome young men?
No partner will ever understand them!
Totally alienated from our trite society
Yet we continue to train them in great variety?

No one but gun-runners benefit from war
So why do we send young ones from our shore?
Too many civilians raped, killed or maimed

But we general citizens continue to shirk blame …

Thanks for sharing, you are all heroes!  ccc 18.5.2005

April 25th is ANZAC Day, this poem comes from years of work with returned service men and from being a descendant of cannon fodder.  November 11 is Remembrance Day

25.4.17 two news articles on the impact of war on our defence personnel – an Afghan Vet at 27yo – and how society shunned our traditional landowners war service – shame!

Feature photo is how they displayed my poem in the regional art gallery for four months.

 How has war impacted on your family and life?