Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Living Dead

Amelia has prayed and pleaded and cried

For somehow the Charlie she knew has died

She holds him close when the dark thunder rolls

There are no words with power to console

Or wipe the scenes from his tormented mind

For where Charlie goes, she remains behind…

The shades are drawn to subdue the daylight

But they cannot shade the mind from his plight

The sun is warm with scent of pinewood

He shivers, inhaling the stench of blood

Lassie waits, eager for Charlie to play

Her master is home, it’s a perfect day

He lifts his arm; suddenly he braces

For the explosion of grenades and faces

Lassie looks back, trying to understand

Why Charlie won’t throw the toy in his hand

But she does not hear the planes distant hum

Or marching feet to the beat of a drum

She cannot see the horror-stricken tears

Of mangled and wounded as gun-smoke clears

Her skin does not ache with memories of blood

Covering the earth in a sickening flood

He cannot see rippling wheat fields, blue skies

Darkened by images burned in his eyes

The woods, once tranquil and sweet with romance

Speak only of fear in his haunted trance

Memories of lying in its cool dark shade

Are frames of terror as history is made

When they told her he made it, Amelia cried

Now she still weeps for her Charlie has died

Janet Martin



  1. I am utterly fascinated with how different everyone's response is to the same picture.

    You have quite a wonderful word painting of how a couple might feel in the situation your couple has experienced.

    And you are able to show us both sides vividly. "For where Charlie goes, she remains behind." I have several favourite lines but this one expresses what is happening with great poignancy.


  2. It is fascinating, isn't it? how the same thing, like the Sunday Wordle or a picture prompt can evoke so many different thoughts!

    Do you think this picture's timing shapes our responses? Do you think if we saw it in mid-July we would see a tranquil summer's eve, and hear the echo of our childhood on the wind? Do you think we would be them, wondering why 'she' miscarried? wondering what it would have been like to have children? or wishing they had children because they see an empty field...the shades in the house are drawn and to me that speaks of sadness...or leaving.

  3. You have taken us inside the mind of this woman - something that is so difficult to do. Thank you.

  4. thank-you Viv. I watched a movie(cannot remember the name of it)
    where the young man returned from WWII and everyone doted on his friends who were missing limbs, visually scarred and such, and yet inside he was irreparably wounded...

  5. Your poem is lovely- and sends me to thinking about how we as humans bear with one another. Watching anothers pain is incredible hard and you have captured this very well.

    I wonder like you about the timing of seeing this image. I wonder if I had seen this image in summer instead of fall if it would have triggered a lighter response from me. (As you know my poem was "dark" as well). Nice to meet you by the way and thank you for visiting my place. xo teri

  6. Hi Teri, Thank-you so much for your visit and your thoughts. Yes, it does seem Autumn, or is it approaching winter, drags us down a little. Maybe we should ask her to re-post this picture in May;)

  7. Janet ~ in nursing school I observed one quarter at a Veteran's psychiatric ward. So sad to see those men suffering ~ and mostly related directly to their wartime experiences. This poem reminded me of one man in particular, and helped me see what his wife or mother might've experienced...

  8. I watched the movie 'From Here to Eternity' recently as well as a documentary where veterans recalled experiences... We would all choose freedom without the horror if we could!
    That must have been quite an experience for you! We really have no idea, do we?

  9. Those men and women will always have my respect. What they lived through, and continue to relive... no one should have to. Yes, it was quite eye-opening, and honestly, I always left feeling sad and depressed because of what I heard and saw. Also... that quarter happened to be late winter to early spring... everything was just 'dead' looking, and I had quite the drive, in a lot of darkness.

  10. ...and yet, as you see, it left a lasting memory because of its depth!
    Have you ever watched the movie Legends of the Fall? It is quite graphic in a few parts, but I remember thinking about how it says in Matthew 24 in the last days we will see horrors never yet seen on this earth-a sobering thought, huh?


Thank you for your visit to this porch. I'd love to hear if or how this post/poem touched you!