Monday, 12 October 2009

I'm hopping on a bus

There are no buses around here as we live in the isolation of the back of beyond beyond .... but now I've found a bus with a difference! I've been reading the posts from TFE's Monday slot for some time and been sorely tempted but lacked the time. Titus has been an avid writer of the challenges and being a fellow canine we like Titus words.
Finally I've done something about hopping on board ....kinda last minute writing on the day so lots of things I'll likely change in the cold light of tomorrow ......but I'm going to post it anyway. Sorry this is a bit bleak but it was the photo in the challenge that did it.
Thanks for the kick-start TFE .....and the free ticket!

Faded memories

There’d been a day when he’d stood tall,
uniform spotless, five medals pinned on his chest.
His buttons and buckles buffed, boots bulled
and shining as bright as the glint in his eye
that last time he’d seen his red-haired fiancĂ©e.

He was ‘lucky;’ they said. He survived
with just the loss of an arm and a leg.
He was deafened by the blast
and numbed by the silence
of family and friends during rehab
until the Army discarded him.

Then there were no campaign medals
with bright coloured ribbons to be won
in the fight to survive the conflicts in his head.
Having tried to regain a place in the world
he surrendered – a dispirited drunk in a squat.

After they found him,
they carried him out
like the ghost in society he’d become;
no family, no flag, no fuss,
no military honours
when they took his body away.
Faded ribbons and dulled medals
buried in the squalor as spoils.


Titus said...

Wow, Wigeon, where to start! Great, tragic story for our times imagined from a single frame.

Like the completeness of the tale, and the stages passed through: the first and final stanzas are the ones that stand out for me. Last two lines very, very good.

It's fun this, isn't it? Also selfishly glad yours bleaker than mine!

Wigeon said...

This sums up my feelings about things that are going on 'in our name.' I saw a programme called 'Wounded' on the TV recently - the waste of young lives stuck with me, hence this poem.
Yes, this is much bleaker than yours and I'm certain sadly true for many ex-service personnel.
Yep, I certainly do like the TFE challenge and it's so different from what I'm often doing so the battered grey matter has to work harder. How I'm gonna get the film for next week beats me .....and then all that work to do for uni too! Och well, we'll see.

Totalfeckineejit said...

First of all Wigeon I have to say that I hate pigeons so I'm delighted that you have taken the P out of them.Scotland seems to be full of talented dogs that can write.This is a great piece of imagination linking a photo and real life.Exactly the sort of trigger (for want of a better word in this instance!)the Bus project hope for.I like the play on words of being'numbed by the blast and deafened by the silence' I also like the idea of his ultimate battle being with the demons in his head.Nice one!

Sandra Leigh said...

Faded ribbons and dulled medals
buried in the squalor as spoils

So real, this. I'm wondering how many medals and ribbons are buried within the lost souls I see on our streets.

Wigeon said...

Thanks TFE, it was a great challenge for me to start on and a photo that just grabbed me straight away.
It's a good job I'm named after a kind of duck then if you don't like pigeons!

Sandra, thanks for stopping by. It's horrible to think how many ex-service personnel are left 'stranded' when the discipline and the 'family' that is the forces is taken from them for whatever reason. So many go on the downward spiral with little if anything to help pull them back up again.

Jeanne Iris said...

Such a poignant look at our dear veterans. This one really got to me. I've seen a number of gentlemen in just this condition, and it breaks my heart. You've captured the soldier's sorrow well.

Wigeon said...

Hello Jeanne Iris, welcome to our new'ish blog and thanks for coming by.
Sorry this is such a bleak and very sad poem. It's how I feel and more so after the programme I saw on wounded soldiers. Oh the waste and for .....? It really gets to me how lives can be shattered by the decisions of those who don't go to fight.
I'll pop over and see if you're on the bus too. We might be sitting on adjacent seats?