Wednesday, 5 December 2012

File On A War Hero

Today's poem was inspired by a conversation with a homeless ex-serviceman begging on the streets of London.

We talk about victory and peace, but... peace of mind? Now, that's something else for many people, especially ex-service personnel. Although more is being done than ever before to help rehabilitate men and women in the armed forces returning from front line action, a significant minority continue to slip through the net.

Ironically, many people seem unable to tell the difference between the most graphic news items recorded by war correspondents and blockbuster war movies!

Meanwhile, family and friends of those who have mental illness issues as a result of witnessing the horrors of warfare have some insight and often, in their turn, suffer awful consequences.

Here in the UK, attitudes of the healthy majority towards mental illness still leave much to be desired.

Certainly, those who fight for us, are killed or injured and/or suffer post traumatic stress disorder in one form or another…deserve better.


Mind closed down for spam,
like a dead computer;
any spare cash for a fall guy?

Heart, wounded and weeping
on loved-ones who left;
any spare cash for a fall guy?

Close my eyes and I can see
ghosts parading the street;
any spare cash for a fall guy?

Close my ears and I can hear
folks cheering us on;
any spare cash for a fall guy?

If God’s closed the file on me
He’s not the only one;
any spare cash for a fall guy?

Cops closing in to move me on
(no medals left to sell);
any spare cash for a fall guy?

Can’t open up for dying inside
among pals blown apart;
any spare cash for a fall guy?

[From: Tracking the Torchbearer by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2012]


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