I was digging in the back bedroom trying to find a poem I had in my Senior Project, in 1979. I’ve been wrestling with another sh**y draft. It really means a lot to me and I just can’t get past how trite my words feel.
I’ve been wrestling with “war” and what it does to men. And yes, I do mean men. I have had some significant conversations with veterans who tear up and don’t want to even talk about the battles they’ve seen.
I have also felt the heaviness of the men who have died at battlefields such as The St. Petersburg Battlefield and the scene of the horrible preventable Port Chicago incident. These places haunt me until I can get something down on paper. After the words are down I read them and they seem like such a cliche. After all, I am a woman and I have never been in a war. How can I even try to write about war when I have no schema or background except the heaviness of feelings?
Then I went off on a rabbit trail of “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae which lead me to “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owens. I felt even crummier about what I was trying to write. Wilfred Owens died at 25 in a battle of World War 1. He is famous for his WW1 poetry. How could I even come close to his words?
Yet, I want to honor these men who sacrificed so much for their countries and can’t even talk about it without tearing up. They just don’t talk about it. It means a lot to me to want to honor them and show the world the vulnerability war creates in warriors. All the death they see cannot be forgotten.
I keep bumbling at it. Maybe someday something will come that honors and does not seem trite and cliche to me.
I salute you Veterans.
Read some Wilfred Owens and gaze on his boyish face, and think of the ways of death.