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Forsaken Heroes

May 20, 2012

Forsaken Heroes

Amidst rocket launchers bursting the air, they cling to memories; tattered pictures and crumpled letters from home. They return from war in caskets, or find themselves spat upon and ridiculed, shunned by those they sought to defend. They no longer think about what they gave up to stand here in the elements, waiting between held breaths to hear faint clinking sounds as you toss a few loose coins into their makeshift banks. Denial takes random shapes. In the land of the free they roam the highways and bi-ways for a place to lay their heads.

Mother Earth pulses
While mankind’s indifference
Sleeps on benches

© Selena Howard ,2012

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie Catherine permalink
    May 20, 2012 11:36 am

    Lena, this is a beautiful, haunting, heart-breaking Haibun – it brings tears to my eyes and an ache in my heart, girlfriend. Beautifully penned, and what a powerful message.

  2. Caddo Veil permalink
    May 20, 2012 1:17 pm

    I love this, Selena–beautiful, painful, true–grabs my heart.

  3. Olan L. Smith permalink
    May 20, 2012 1:42 pm

    I find this poem is personal in that my father came back from WWII a broken man emotionally after serviving three years. He would have gotten better care missing an arm or leg but emotionally distrubbed is just now getting some recognition but not nearly enough. I was born after the war but my mother said before the war he was afraid of nothing but the man I grew up with was afraid of every sudden sound or crack of thunder and afraid of being left alone. Combat breaks the soul and until the nation realizes that not all wounds are visible they will alway shun that person who no longer wears the uniform yet wear the weight of a nation’s freedom in heart. Love, Olan

    • May 26, 2012 7:40 am

      Olan I’m thrilled that you can relate to this though saddened by what happened to your dad. PSTD was not something acknowledged or even thought of in your dads time so it must have been doubly hard

      • Olan L. Smith permalink
        May 26, 2012 1:45 pm

        Good Saturday. I have missed you on Wattpad, lately. PTSD or mental are very common but just as real as if you had been shot. I would suggest to the government that they add a medal akin to the purple heart and call it the “Golden Heart” for those men with TBI an PTSD for to me this is the worst wound a soldier or combatant can suffer, for some it is worse than receiving a “wooden cross” and planted in the ground. As you can see this is a strong emotion for me as I have seen firsthand what stress can do to a man. On my father’s discharge papers are a silver campaign star equal to five bronze campaign stars; a good conduct medal, the French Croix De Guerre with palm and fourguerre, a Presidential unit citation for the battle of the Colmar Pocket and a BTO listing or bombing through overcast. He served in the First Infantry, 18th regiment of the Seventh Army from Africa, Sicily and through Italy. From Rome, France and Germany he served in the 168th Chemical smoke generator unit and after Colmar was attached to Patton 3rd Army. Yet, when he returned he did not seek help for his problems. For them to admit a mental wound was and is to admit weakness of manhood. This stigma must be over come if we wish for the health of our veterans to improve when they return home. Mom said that dad was afraid of nothing when he went to war but the man I grew up with jumped with fears and dread at every crack of thunder.

      • May 27, 2012 2:37 pm

        Thank you Olan I’ve not been myself lately so that is one reason I’ve not been on wattpad or much of anywhere to be honest but I promise I’m working on that.I agree with you Olan the stigma has gone on for far too long and something must be done about it. I am so sorry your father suffered so much. I had several family members this happened to so I know a little about it.

  4. Stephen Francia permalink
    May 21, 2012 4:14 am

    Another masterful Haibun that relates all the important facets of this international issue, especially in the case of those returned from armed service. Wonderfully done Lena, congratulations.

    • May 26, 2012 7:41 am

      Thank you Stephen. I’m glad you enjoyed this. I’ll be firming this up a bit in the future

  5. June 5, 2012 8:12 am

    This is truly powerful, Lena, mixing prose and poetry, a Haibun, into a single work. So many I have known that have gone to war have struggled coming back. My father, fortunately, was not one of them. A cook in the army he, like Olan’s father, went through Africa to Italy to France to Germany and was on a ship off the shores of Japan when they dropped the atom bombs. Still, his spirit was always filled with an energy that constantly reached out to other people. He would not talk about the war other than to tell my brothers and I to clean our plates. He’d seen too many children in Africa starving. Really good post.

    • June 5, 2012 8:58 am

      Thank you Thomas.I will most likely revise this a bit.I’d like to firm it up and present a stronger piece. I did that with my piece society’s nomads and the end result was a harder hitting piece.

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