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  The Unknown Soldier A Poem

by | Oct 18, 2014 | Poems

You may not have any battlefield stories you can tell,

But you have often heard it said that war is hell.

I am the Unknown Soldier, and I know this all too well!

They shoved burning bamboo beneath my fingernails!

The guards just ate and laughed and smiled through my shrieks and wails!

I was there, in the desert, wounded, so thirsty, so dry!

I was lost and alone, certain that I would die!

Into my helmet, I would urinate,

And with each swallow delaying my fate!

I wondered, was life really worth all this?

Could my own urine save me from thirst’s burning kiss?

Was this desert my gateway to heaven or to hell?

I could not tell.

Oh God of my youth, do you really hear my groans?

When I die out here, I don’t think they’ll even find my bones!

Do you really know where I am?

What was that they said in church? Something about a lamb?

I guess I lay me down to sleep.

It seems that in your sight my life is cheap.

I know that in your eyes, my life has been a fake.

Oh Jesus help me! My soul please take!

Yes, I was there when they tied us back to back.

They took us prisoner after their attack.

To the river far below, over the side of that bridge,

Into the water they threw us, water as cold as milk from the frij!

I remember that grandmother lying in the street.

Bullets riddled her body. She looked so harmless and sweet.

After she had died,

Then I knew that she had lied!

Out of her skirt rolled a hand grenade!

Fools of us all she had made!

“Well, you know,”

My commanding officer said,

“You can’t tell the civvies from the soldiers, Joe,

And these civvies will kill you just as dead!”

Once, I saw fire falling from the sky!

Like burning honey, it killed the babies and the men!

It took nine eternities for them to die,

It may have even taken ten.

They saw us on the evening news, and called us baby killers then.

We heard screaming in the jungle one awful night.

Everyone was filled with fright.

We found the missing man, his testacles sewn inside his mouth!

These devils would do anything to take the south!

I remember how angry we got that day.

We told the prisoners to give us names and locations, and anything else we wanted them to say.

High in that helicopter, as they dangled out the door, they told us what we wanted to know.

Still we did not spare them. We sent them out the door and far below!

I remember a little girl; she had to be only five!

“Shoot,” the commander yelled, “or none of us will be alive!”

I had seen this done before.

An exploding child, followed by blood and death and gore!

We fired, and found a little girl and nothing more!

There are things about the war I just can’t talk about.

That’s why I wake up in the night and begin to shout.

My God! She wasn’t a running bomb at all! She was just a little girl instead!

That’s why I just can’t get this war out of my head, out of my head, out of my head!

Hands behind my back, and hanging by my hands!

Pain drives me to obey any of their commands!

I have to tell them what they want to know. I can’t take this any more!

They are going to win. I am losing my portion of the war!

Yes, they say that war is hell.

I am the Unknown Soldier, and I know this all too well!

Yes, I know this all too well!

Chris Hansen


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