Monday, March 03, 2008

Pacifist

I've never understood war. I suppose I am a pacifist, at least in some minds. But I also think it is much more than that. I believe I was born with the soul of a Social Worker. Long before I realized that it was my professional calling, I believed in such things as people having the right to make decisions about their own lives, whether I liked it or not. I don't believe we should have a military presence in any country other than our own unless we are invited by the people of that country. If one of our own borders or shorelines is threatened, we have the right to protect ourselves, but we don't belong halfway around the globe with arms and troops under most circumstances.

The following was written sometime in the past ten years. It was in my heart a long time before that, at least since the Viet Nam involvement.


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Pacifist

I remember the war from long ago
when soldiers went away as told.
They fought and died and were maimed
in body and spirit,
and came home to nothing.
I hate war.
I hate that young lives were twisted,
never again quite right,
but I hate even more vehemently
that we dishonored them for doing their jobs
when they returned from that war.
What happened to our country
that we could disrespect our own
with downcast eyes and backs turned
as we did?
I could say, “But I didn't,”
yet I am an American and as such
I’m part of the generation that stood by
and failed to defend the defenders
of everything America stood for.
Shame on us.
We stood by while they lost their innocence, their lives
and their sanity
in a war that shouldn’t have been but was.
Broken spirits, broken bodies, broken minds
were what came back from that senseless war.
Later we realized how wrong we were
but it was too late.
The damage was done and irreversible.
We learned about PTSD,
acronym for “death by inhumanity of selfish peers.”
We learned that suffering in silence and loneliness and disgrace
is harshest and most damaging.
But it was too late for the children of that war.
I hate war.
But I especially hate that war
which stripped us all of dignity,
of national pride,
of ability to respect people as people.
Something died in that war
that is greater even than the total of the human lives.
They were doing their jobs.
We didn’t do ours.
All we had to do was say
“Welcome home. Job done in honor.”
But we didn’t do it.
We averted our eyes and turned away
from the young people who simply did their jobs and then came home.
It wasn’t their fault, but it was they who suffered
from decisions made in ivory towers and based on lies.
And America turned it’s anger on the children,
not the ones who stole the children’s lives.
I hate war.
But I don’t hate the ones who carried out their orders.
I can –– and do –– abhor those who sent our young people
to die, or worse, to live and remember.
They remembered alone.
They remembered in silence and in agony.
What they remembered became blurred and fused
until honor and shame,
pride and disgust,
loyalty and evil became inseparable factors in their minds
and those minds became scrambled eggs.
We left them alone.
We left them in shame,
the shame that was our own shame.
This was the war that taught me that
I hate war.

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7 comments:

Sherry ~ Cherie ~ ms. herbes de provence said...

I echo your sentiments Lynilu and I feel you have captured the feelings of many with this poem.

Anonymous said...

You really said a heart full with this! In some research, those who've gone to war hate war more than those of us who have never had to. -s3-

Lynilu said...

Sherry, thank you.

S3, I know you're right. My experiences at the VA Hospital convinced me of it.

my said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
my said...

Yes, I come back. I appreciate your poems. I wait for more.

my said...

I can't login the web at all times, but I hope to read your poems. So could you give me favors to email me when you write poems? I expect that very much.
My email address:mecorate@gmail.com

Lynilu said...

Hello, My, and welcome back. I'm always happy to see you here! Yes, I will be happy to notify you.

:)