I don’t normally publish anything on a Tuesday but after having the opportunity to share the stories and pain of many soldiers with PTSD, I am making an exception with a poem I wrote for them in honour of this special day.
They walk down a dirt road.
The war is right there in front of them.
Yelling. Screaming. Gunshots. Bombs.
Fear is everywhere.
A tiny baby cries for help but they can not go near.
That baby may be hiding a bomb.
This enemy has no rules.
All of a sudden their attention turns to one soldier.
He’s standing on a steel box hidden beneath the sand.
If he moves? It could go off.
If he doesn’t? He’s an easy target.
As he shouted and others rushed to help, it went off.
Devastation is everywhere.
Very soon mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives and children will feel that devastation too.
Those who remain feel guilty. Why did they survive? Why couldn’t they have helped quicker? Why oh why… NOTHING here makes sense.
Back in their bunks no one sleeps.
The sounds, smells, visions and fear just won’t go away.
Soon they are awoken by someone who loves them and reminded that they are home now. They are safe. That war was years ago.
It keeps them awake at night then ruins the sleep they can get.
They are triggered by noises that no one else understands.
Flashbacks play like horror filled movies in their minds. Constantly.
It is like being back there all over again.
No matter how hard they try, the terror never leaves.
The war never leaves their minds.
They should never leave ours.