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Passions in Poetry

Prisoners Of War

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Michael
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0 posted 10-28-1999 07:45 PM       View Profile for Michael   Email Michael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions  View IP for Michael

PRISONERS OF WAR

Held knee deep in water's rage,
We watch the world through a bamboo cage.
With the snake and leech a home we share,
But no one visits, none would care.
Once we held our rifles high and true,
To our native land we paid our due.
Now, by the world, thought of not,
By our own nation we are forgot.
We watched our brothers dig as slaves,
The shallow holes to be their graves...
In distorted awe, wondering why,
We were considered "lucky" not to die.
As, between remorse and envy, rationale warps,
Rendering us a non-existent, living corpse.
Yes we survived, knowing not what for.
Left behind we'll die, prisoners of war.


Arlington, a place prepared quite nice
For our brothers who paid the ultimate price.
Countless slabs of pale, cold stone,
The celebrated graves of the unknown.
Might a cross better symbolize a soul
Who couldn't cross the bridge but paid the toll?
Handed a gun he couldn't fire,
To live or die, walking a wire.
Now, Prisoners Of War Eternally Resting,
Still bear no claim to the lines they we're nesting.
Unremembered, unrewarded, unsung, unknown,
Each lies in rot ‘neath a one word headstone.
Yet, unfazed by foulness and stench,
Thousands amass to heed this wench,
Where men who once stood proud and tall
Are now, merely, names upon a wall.
So we pay our respects and grief
Looking on in utter disbelief,
At this, the war's highest achievable prize
In shame even Arlington's beauty can't guise.
For government would have them do it again,
Fight a causeless war behind a poison pen.
But they can't justify a reason for
Forty-six thousand dead prisoners of war.


Surviving veterans coming home,
Spit on, laughed at, a hero's welcome.
Two years ago left a kid on a whim.
He returns home now, missing a limb.
The cuts and wounds, they scar and heal,
But a bleeding heart may never seal.
Two years later a mind been scaled
By sheer coldness the war unveiled.
Turning, jumping at every sound,
A slammed door drops him to the ground.
Still suffering from the pain inflicted,
Or succumbing to the needle, addicted.
Still fighting a war inside,
Still clinging to the diseased pride
Once held in such unparalleled manner,
Defending some other star spangled banner.
Now they come home scarred, maimed and blind.
Some come home without their mind.
Then some come home just a man been tore.
But they all come home - prisoners of war.


They used to hang gold stars in the window.
Placed there in proud display to show
(Sent to defend a striving land),
Another soldier making his stand.
Too young to die, too far to roam,
Now another soldier won't be home.
Just twenty-one rifles blasting the sky,
For service to country? - A venerable goodbye.
Laid to rest in a grave of gloom,
Slave to other's vengeance, a voiceless tomb.
As a family learns to live with pain,
Memories of a son they lost in vain.
Still, they find it hard to choke the tears,
Though the images fade through the years.
For the picture still hangs on the wall
Of a boy who answered a man's call.
The fire of life beneath his eyes, benign.
Says, "Only here, may gold stars ever shine."
Still each day in it's view hearts grow sore,
But then it seems we're all prisoners of war.

------------------
Michael Anderson
1986



[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 10-28-1999).]
© Copyright 1999 Michael Anderson - All Rights Reserved
Michael
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1 posted 10-28-1999 07:48 PM       View Profile for Michael   Email Michael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michael

I realize much of this poem deals with some controversial issues. Please note, I in no way was trying to offend anyone who may have served in Vietnam, or their families in any way. The poem was intended to reflect how war, in general, causes "everyone" to suffer. Even the gold stars I refer to were in referance to WWII, however, I grew up in the midst of the Vietnam Era and thus the images left in my head and my families own personal losses there left Vietnam in the spotlight of this poem.

Sy and Chris, I wanted you two to see this especially. Sy, because of your poem on "The Wall", I am sure you will appreciate some shared sentiment...And Chris, because you told me to drudge up some of that old stuff...here's another.

------------------
Michael Anderson



[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 10-28-1999).]
Tara Simms
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2 posted 10-28-1999 07:54 PM       View Profile for Tara Simms   Email Tara Simms   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Tara Simms's Home Page   View IP for Tara Simms

Michael, this is your best work yet. This poem brought tears to my eyes, it's the written version of "Saving Private Ryan." Your words made war very real to me in a way I could never imagine, being lucky enough to have never lived through one. My father is a Vietnam Vet, my grandfather fought in WWII. All the men in my family have been a part of the armed forces, it's a family tradition and one that makes me very proud. Excellent work!
Marilyn
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3 posted 10-28-1999 07:55 PM       View Profile for Marilyn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Marilyn

I just wanted you to know I read this. Speachless at the moment, will reply later.
Watcher666
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since 10-13-1999
Posts 1630


4 posted 10-28-1999 08:57 PM       View Profile for Watcher666   Email Watcher666   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Watcher666's Home Page   View IP for Watcher666

Words escape me.Beautiful.

------------------
Illusion...what we see and what we do...it's all up to you.
hoot_owl_rn
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5 posted 10-28-1999 09:18 PM       View Profile for hoot_owl_rn   Email hoot_owl_rn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit hoot_owl_rn's Home Page   View IP for hoot_owl_rn

Michael...one word comes to mind...Brilliant!! I am speachless.
Denise
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6 posted 10-28-1999 09:29 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

You couldn't have expressed my own feelings any better even if you had reached inside my mind and taken a photograph. Viet Nam was an everyday word when I was growing up and didn't end 'till after my first daughter was born. Such a huge chunk of time on the American psyche. Visions on TV everyday for years. And then the aftermath for these poor soldiers when coming home. Unspeakable treatment by their own country and fellow citizens. I'll never understand it as long as I live. Michael, this is a classic piece of work.

------------------
Denise

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7 posted 10-28-1999 09:36 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Michael, I am unable to respond for personal reasons but just wanted to say thank you for writing it.
Seymour Tabin
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since 07-07-99
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Tamarac Fla


8 posted 10-28-1999 09:50 PM       View Profile for Seymour Tabin   Email Seymour Tabin   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seymour Tabin

Michael,
You touched on things that most veterns won't
talk about. Being frightened out of you wits
can not be explained. It is a feeling pushed so deep inside you, you hope it would die.
And what you wrote will make men cry.
I know it has to be said and you did it better than I have ever read before, well done.
DreamEvil
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since 06-22-99
Posts 2442


9 posted 10-28-1999 10:07 PM       View Profile for DreamEvil   Email DreamEvil   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit DreamEvil's Home Page   View IP for DreamEvil

Exquisite piece my friend.

------------------
Now and forever, my heart hears ~one voice~.
DreamEvil©

WhtDove
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since 07-22-99
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10 posted 10-28-1999 10:54 PM       View Profile for WhtDove   Email WhtDove   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit WhtDove's Home Page   View IP for WhtDove

Michael I'm left without words to describe this. Nothing I can say would do it justice. Very heartfelt it was, I held the tears back, otherwise I would have just cryed. I really like how you brought this to light. Most excellent job!
Tara Simms
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since 08-12-99
Posts 1285
Honea Path, SC USA


11 posted 10-28-1999 10:56 PM       View Profile for Tara Simms   Email Tara Simms   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Tara Simms's Home Page   View IP for Tara Simms

Michael, with Veteran's Day coming up, might I suggest you giving a copy to a local VFW chapter or VA? I think they would appreciate it.
Pepper
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since 08-19-99
Posts 3134
Southern Florida

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12 posted 10-28-1999 11:17 PM       View Profile for Pepper   Email Pepper   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Pepper

I am in awe of the quality of this piece Michael.You made us feel so vividly. Just an amazing work.....

------------------
A soul that writes from the heart and shares it, truly gives a gift extrordinaire!
Michael
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13 posted 10-29-1999 05:35 AM       View Profile for Michael   Email Michael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michael

I am certainly glad this was well recieved, especially by you, Sy...and you, Balladeer.
Thank you "all" for the responses and Tara, I like your idea, I will follow through on it.


Michael


[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 10-29-1999).]
Nan
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14 posted 10-29-1999 06:47 AM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

Having lived through this era, watching my brother and all of my friends being drafted into the armed services, this poem does have a really special significance for me. Some returned; some did not. Many who were fortunate enough to come home were affected in ways none will ever comprehend. It was a very difficult time for everyone - God Bless all....
RSEvans
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since 10-23-1999
Posts 1187
Tulsa, OK, USA


15 posted 10-29-1999 07:15 AM       View Profile for RSEvans   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for RSEvans

Did I see something I wasn't supposed to? Maybe the acrostic is something you do without knowing it? Prisoners Of War Eternally Resting = POWER? I may have read to much into this line but it sounds as though the author envies the power of the dead to escape the bonds he is currently in? Probably not. All the same a moving piece. As a veteran of 9 1/2 years, and a soldier of Desert Shield/Storm and Provide Hope and Provide Comfort operations. I feel a kinship with these men you speak of. Very thought provoking piece, Michael.

------------------
Once I was brilliant, now I no longer shine, but the twinkle in my eye speaks of another time.
Michael
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16 posted 10-29-1999 07:42 AM       View Profile for Michael   Email Michael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michael

Robert, out of everyone who's viewed this piece over the years, and there have been many, you are the only one who's ever caught that.

The sheer POWER felt in viewing Arlington National Cemetary is what inspired me to write this poem...It was not so much that the author envied the dead, but felt the energy of the endless rows of "unknowns" crying from their graves in violation, i.e. "Prisoners Of War Eternally Resting".

Now, Prisoners Of War Eternally Resting,
Still bear no claim to the lines they we're nesting.
Unremembered, unrewarded, unsung, unknown,
Each lies in rot ‘neath a one word headstone.

These are actually the first lines I wrote when I started this poem. I am glad you caught it. I had all but forgotten it was there, myself.

Michael


[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 10-29-1999).]
suthern
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17 posted 10-29-1999 10:08 AM       View Profile for suthern   Email suthern   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for suthern

A powerful tribute to those who served... especially to those who gave all. The men in my life that matter are veterans and I worked at Fort Polk during a time when the next stop for most of the soldiers was Vietnam... so the lump this poem brings to my throat is a big one. Well done, Michael.
hoot_owl_rn
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18 posted 10-29-1999 11:59 AM       View Profile for hoot_owl_rn   Email hoot_owl_rn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit hoot_owl_rn's Home Page   View IP for hoot_owl_rn

I am reading for about the 5th time and replying for the second. I totally missed the POWER thing in there, but now having seen it, wonder how it could have slipped by me. This poem is so strong in it's nature and it's message it speaks with a power all it's own. The final two lines :
"Still each day in it's view hearts grow sore,
But then it seems we're all prisoners of war."
WOW!!! You know, I believe we all, even those of us that did not serve our country in uniform are prisoners of war. We are caged by the effects war has had on us and our families, by the loss of friends and family, by the economical costs of war and by the fear that one day war will destroy all of us in it's wake. My hats are off to all who served in one way or another and continue to live it in their minds and hearts on a daily basis. God Bless you for posting this and for all of you, my hat is off to you
Sunshine
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19 posted 10-29-1999 12:06 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

This one will be shared by many men, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters.

For it took something from all of us, each and every war, each and every one.
Toerag
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Ala bam a


20 posted 10-29-1999 02:51 PM       View Profile for Toerag   Email Toerag   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Toerag

Mike.....I will "ditto' what Balladeer said, I do have personal "conflicts" with this...and some very terrible memories, but, I think you did a tremendous job!!!
caroline
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21 posted 10-30-1999 04:50 AM       View Profile for caroline   Email caroline   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for caroline

A masterpiece, Michael. No words I can use to accurately describe how exquisite this is...so I will just say thank you. Three of my uncles went to Vietnam, and thank God they all came home...and they refuse, for the most part, to speak of what they went through there. I was old enough to see how they were treated when they came home, and it made me sick. When the youngest of them returned, he was spit on by a woman who screamed horrible things at him. He packed up his duffle bag and joined up again...and went back for another tour. He said he preferred that to being spit on by his own people. And I will never forget the sound of my mother's anguish at watching him walk away...
Thank you again Michael. This touched me deeply.
Christopher
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Purgatorial Incarceration


22 posted 10-30-1999 05:56 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

Micheal, first I have to wonder aloud if you've ever had a vapid thought in that head of yours...
Amazing the imagery you can portray without ever having been through the actual experience. That you could have such a deep insight and clarity of thoughts is amazing. I would be awed at this if you had writen it a day ago. But knowing that tis is thirteen years old, I am completely blown away!
Amazing.
 
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