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Passions in Poetry

Small Pain in My Chest

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Balladeer
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since 06-05-99
Posts 26302
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


0 posted 11-11-1999 02:35 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

(This was the first poem I ever posted at Passions, which introduced me to Nan, DeVine, Fred, Doreen and many wonderful people who have become friends. Many of you have read it and I'm not really posting it to get responses....I simply have a personal tradition of placing it somewhere every Veteran's Day. This year it's here. My strongest salute to all who served.....)


The soldier boy was sitting calmly underneath that tree.
As I approached it, I could see him beckoning to me.
The battle had been long and hard and lasted through the night
And scores of figures on the ground lay still by morning's light.

"I wonder if you'd help me, sir", he smiled as best he could."
A sip of water on this morn would surely do me good.
We fought all day and fought all night with scarcely any rest -
A sip of water for I have a small pain in my chest."

As I looked at him, I could see the large stain on his shirt
All reddish-brown from his warm blood mixed in with Asian dirt.
"Not much", said he. "I count myself more lucky than the rest.
They're all gone while I just have a small pain in my chest."

"Must be fatigue", he weakIy smiled. "I must be getting old.
I see the sun is shining bright and yet I'm feeling cold.
We climbed the hill, two hundred strong, but as we cleared the crest,
The night exploded and I felt this small pain in my chest."

"I looked around to get some aid - the only things I found
Were big, deep craters in the earth - bodies on the ground.
I kept an firing at them, sir. I tried to do my best,
But finally sat down with this small pain in my chest."

"I'm grateful, sir", he whispered, as I handed my canteen
And smiled a smile that was, I think, the brightest that I've seen.
"Seems silly that a man my size so full of vim and zest,
Could find himself defeated by a small pain in his chest."

"What would my wife be thinking of her man so strong and grown,
If she could see me sitting here, too weak to stand alone?
Could my mother have imagined, as she held me to her breast,
That I'd be sitting HERE one day with this pain in my chest?"

"Can it be getting dark so soon?" He winced up at the sun.
"It's growing dim and I thought that the day had just begun.
I think, before I travel on, I'll get a little rest ..........
And, quietly, the boy died from that small pain in his chest

I don't recall what happened then. I think I must have cried;
I put my arms around him and I pulled him to my side
And, as I held him to me, I could feel our wounds were pressed
The large one in my heart against the small one in his chest.
© Copyright 1999 Michael Mack - All Rights Reserved
Toerag
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since 07-29-99
Posts 5839
Ala bam a


1 posted 11-11-1999 02:43 PM       View Profile for Toerag   Email Toerag   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Toerag

And a snapped salute back at ya sir.....simply wonderful!
suthern
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since 07-29-99
Posts 20770
on the threshold of a dream


2 posted 11-11-1999 02:45 PM       View Profile for suthern   Email suthern   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for suthern

How can words dry up and fail me when tears stream down my cheeks? This is a poem I will not forget... thank you.
Dark Angel
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since 08-04-99
Posts 10270


3 posted 11-11-1999 02:45 PM       View Profile for Dark Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Dark Angel

Oh Balladeer,I've read this one before and it still brings tears to my eyes, its so sad and so beautiful, again Well Done Sir Balladeer!!

------------------
What comes from the heart goes to the heart.
Samuel Coleridge


Munda
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since 10-08-1999
Posts 3629
The Hague, The Netherlands


4 posted 11-11-1999 02:45 PM       View Profile for Munda   Email Munda   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Munda's Home Page   View IP for Munda

This is so beautiful ! Thanks for reposting it. : )
Pepper
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since 08-19-99
Posts 3134
Southern Florida

Official Passions Reader
5 posted 11-11-1999 02:52 PM       View Profile for Pepper   Email Pepper   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Pepper

Tears here too Balladeer....a most moving piece......

------------------
A soul that writes from the heart and shares it, truly gives a gift extraordinaire!

RainbowGirl
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since 07-31-99
Posts 3167
United Kingdom


6 posted 11-11-1999 02:55 PM       View Profile for RainbowGirl   Email RainbowGirl   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit RainbowGirl's Home Page   View IP for RainbowGirl

Oh Bal....HUSG

------------------
You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
Toerag
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since 07-29-99
Posts 5839
Ala bam a


7 posted 11-11-1999 03:07 PM       View Profile for Toerag   Email Toerag   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Toerag

ANYONE! Anyone that can write something like this is a genius and a true hero themselves! If you notice, I didn't say a "True American", though this gentleman I'm sure is, but so many forget, that soldiers from all countries, all walks of life, all nationalities and races died in what they believed to be right. Whether it was our enemy or our friend, people die for what they believe in. Here, in the United States, it's known as for God and Country....Sadly, in other countries, some being the enemy, it's because they are brainwashed to believe something else. They bleed the same, they hurt the same, their families grieve the same. Not many people anywhere....And I do mean ANYWHERE, could write something like this poem. This one really did "Hit Old Toerag in the Chest!"
moonmoon
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since 08-13-99
Posts 280
TX , USA


8 posted 11-11-1999 03:36 PM       View Profile for moonmoon   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonmoon


A teary salute back Sir..

Thanks for the repost..enjoyed much..
Balladeer
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Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


9 posted 11-11-1999 03:40 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I sincerely thank everyone of you....very much.

You're right, Toe. Every soldier in every country fights, bleeds, dies and leaves loved ones behind in the insanity of war. Your comments will not be forgotten, friend.
RainbowGirl
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since 07-31-99
Posts 3167
United Kingdom


10 posted 11-11-1999 03:47 PM       View Profile for RainbowGirl   Email RainbowGirl   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit RainbowGirl's Home Page   View IP for RainbowGirl

Having just spoken to Bal, I didn't realise that we're perhaps unique in that most of our country stops at 11am for 2 minutes...airports, radio, TV, most traffic, virtually all workplaces and it's a very unique feeling...one of being united even though we all stand alone in our silence and respect!

Just thought it would be nice to share how a different country reacts..:-)

HUGS all

------------------
You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

[This message has been edited by RainbowGirl (edited 11-11-1999).]
Sunshine
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since 06-25-99
Posts 67715
Listening to every heart


11 posted 11-11-1999 03:55 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

This should be reposted every year at 11:00 a.m.

We cannot compete ever with 'Deer's abilities...so he will just have to be our Beacon Deacon.

Thank you, Kind Sir, for these words. Although you did not want comments back, how could anyone not?

------------------
Sunshine
Look, then, into thine heart, and write ~~~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Marilyn
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since 09-26-1999
Posts 2646
Ontario, Canada


12 posted 11-11-1999 04:19 PM       View Profile for Marilyn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Marilyn

Tears here as well my friend.

I just want to add that this could be your father or brother or son by this tree. Everyone must remember the gift we have. The gift that father's, son's and brother's died for. We are blest with the gift of freedom and we should value it much. I was speaking to my mother today about WWII. About memories my grandparents and my father has of the occupation if Holland. This is closer to us them we wish to believe. We have to look closer and understand the value of the lives lost for us.

Thankyou for letting me speak my mind.
hoot_owl_rn
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since 07-05-99
Posts 11105
Glen Hope, PA USA


13 posted 11-11-1999 04:38 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

I am as much moved by tears this time as I was the last time I read this posting from you Balladeer. Such touching words, so well told. This poem is a classic or if you trust me and FINALLY submit some of your stuff, it will one day soon be
Ruth

------------------
Alis volat propriis
(She flies with her own wings)
Denise
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since 08-22-99
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14 posted 11-11-1999 08:42 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

One of my favorites. My Dad would have loved it! I'll accept your salute on his behalf. And I join you in your salute to all who served. And I salute you!

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

Tara Simms
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since 08-12-99
Posts 1285
Honea Path, SC USA


15 posted 11-11-1999 08:54 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

Wonderful writing, Balladeer. Brought tears to my eyes.
Elizabeth Santos
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since 11-08-1999
Posts 9405
Pennsylvania


16 posted 11-11-1999 09:52 PM       View Profile for Elizabeth Santos   Email Elizabeth Santos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Elizabeth Santos

I read this poem about ten minutes ago and I'm still holding him in my arms. I can't let go. Elizabeth
Seymour Tabin
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since 07-07-99
Posts 32119
Tamarac Fla


17 posted 11-11-1999 10:22 PM       View Profile for Seymour Tabin   Email Seymour Tabin   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seymour Tabin

It effects me now as it did before and always will.
WhtDove
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since 07-22-99
Posts 9561
Illinois


18 posted 11-11-1999 10:49 PM       View Profile for WhtDove   Email WhtDove   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit WhtDove's Home Page   View IP for WhtDove

Wow Balladeer! I don't know what to say. Except thank God for them to fight like they have to give us what we have today! Great job! Excellent writing, Superb thought.
THANKS
Michael
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since 08-13-99
Posts 6333
California


19 posted 11-12-1999 01:42 AM       View Profile for Michael   Email Michael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michael

Wow, Balladeer,
this one touches me deeply.
Indeed, a salute is due here.


Michael
Iloveit
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since 09-02-99
Posts 1168
NM


20 posted 11-12-1999 09:48 AM       View Profile for Iloveit   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Iloveit

really beautiful Mr. Balladeer
Ohme
Senior Member
since 07-17-99
Posts 831
Texas


21 posted 11-12-1999 10:30 AM       View Profile for Ohme   Email Ohme   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ohme

Balladeer, poems like this tug at my heart and become difficult to read because of the tears in my eyes. Very nicely done.
Saxoness
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since 07-18-99
Posts 1176
Texas


22 posted 11-12-1999 12:48 PM       View Profile for Saxoness   Email Saxoness   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Saxoness

I remember when i first read this poem, i cried for my Grampa. I do so again, not because it opens old wounds, but because i am so proud of him, and all those who sacrificed for our freedom. Thank you Balladeer

------------------
"Glory remains unaware of my neglected dwelling where alone
I sing my tearful song which has charms only for me."

-Charles Brugnot


John Yaws
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since 10-09-1999
Posts 865
Texas


23 posted 11-12-1999 08:26 PM       View Profile for John Yaws   Email John Yaws   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit John Yaws's Home Page   View IP for John Yaws

Excellent, my friend. One of the best that I have ever read.
suthern
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Member Seraphic
since 07-29-99
Posts 20770
on the threshold of a dream


24 posted 05-25-2001 02:55 PM       View Profile for suthern   Email suthern   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for suthern

The thread in the lounge about favorite poems gave me the perfect excuse to prowl in the archives, trying to find the URL for poems I'd printed out and saved. And it would be truth to say this one has been haunting me because it's Memorial Day weekend... but the bigger truth is that it's haunted me since the first reading for both its poignancy and its perfection. *S*

But reading the comments again did remind me of this song written in 1976 about WWI. Eric Bogle is a Scotsman who's lived in Australia for many years... His "No More I'll Go Waltzin' Matilda" (about Galipoli) would be worth the price of the CD if that was the only song recorded. *S* You and he write of different wars in different places but the death and devastation are the same... I hope you don't mind me including these lyrics. *S*

No Man's Land (also known as The Green Fields of France) - words and music by Eric Bogle, 1976

Well, how'd you do, Private Willie McBride,
D'you mind if I sit down here by your graveside?
I'll rest for awhile in the warm summer sun,
Been walking all day, Lord, and I'm nearly done.
I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916,
I hope you died quick and I hope you died "clean,"
Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?

  CHORUS:
  Did they beat the drum slowly, did they sound the fife lowly?
  Did the rifles fire o'er ye as they lowered ye down?
  Did the bugles sing "The Last Post" in chorus?
  Did the pipes play the "Fleurs O' The Forest"?

Did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined?
And, though you died back in 1916,
To that loyal heart are you forever nineteen?
Or are you a stranger, without even a name,
Forever enshrined behind some glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained,
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

Well, the sun's shining down on these green fields of France;
The warm wind blows gently, the red poppies dance.
The trenches have vanished long under the plow;
No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard it's still No Man's Land;
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man.
And a whole generation who were butchered and damned.

And I can't help but wonder now, Willie McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you "the cause?"
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame,
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For Willie McBride, it's all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.
 
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