The Broken Man

Our minds can be fragile

l met a broken man, one day.

He sat beside me. He had much to say.

l could not help but listen.


His eyes still had a sparkle , though pain was their main feature.

l was mesmerised as l sat beside this creature...


Such long hair, and beard the same.

It was all he had in abundance...

The rest of him was skin and bone,

A tiny, weatherbeaten frame.


It was ´´just his way´ He assured me.

l need not run for food,

He excercised to excess, in attempts to lift his mood.

But hair and beard.... that´s different , he let them both grow free.


He hadn´t always been so broken,

He assured me he´d been happy

but life does cruel things , you know

To all of us as we live and grow.

He placed his hand inside his pocket,

pulling out a picture, old and crumpled

though it was. It meant the world to him.




In the picture was a man with thick, dark hair,

A beard so thick he sported too, and on

His lap a little girl, with eyes like his.........

But without the pain.

My broken man, was trying hard to fight

a tear that was rising, , as he put the photograph away,

He WOULD not be found crying.

´´ A Handsome man,´´ l interjected .

Is it you, when younger?.

He looked at me with now sad eyes....

´´Well, He has my name, and that´s my daughter,

But Is it me?. l couldn´t say, l went to Vietnam, you know?

And after Nam, we none of us are truly sure of who we are.¨¨

l said, l thought that all the boys were brave to go

so far away to fight an unfair, dirty war. They thought that they were helping.......

He answered me with ..... Silence.......

This took my mind back to my childhood

Our gentle Uncle Tommy. How many years was he compelled

to live as a P.O.W in Japan, a living hell....?

The same expressions then and now,

´´He never was the same again.....´´´

´´He came back, a different man...´´

And most of all when we were children,

The warning when Uncle´d visit.....

´´Don´t ask of experiences from Japan´´

The same with the man beside me now.

Best not ask of Vietnam.


The day l met this broken man,

The sun was scorching down on us.

The sky so blue, yet pale indeed.

The sun so bright, it faded light from

deeper, bluer skies.

My mum, had taught me back in childhood

´Never talk to strangers´

l said this as l stood up and shook the hand of my broken man.

Somehow, l think she would forgive todays´conversation.

´See you again.....´´´He shouted...

as l turned and walked away.

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Comments 28 comments

Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Hello Dim,

This was so very touching. Thank you for sharing.

Sunnie


tsmog profile image

tsmog 4 years ago from Escondido, CA

Awesome! Remember to smile and have fun, fun, fun , , ,


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

Thanks, Sunnie. l seemed to lose the ´flow´somewhere

so l think l may have to edit it.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

Thank you tsmog.... l am smiling.....


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

Hey Sunnie , Changed the wobbly bit. can´t believe l pressed ´publish´too soon.

l feel better now.

Thank you so much for all your support.


jenubouka 4 years ago

This a wonderful poetic story in which I may now always think of when I see the broken.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

This is very nicely done. I didn't see a wobbly part, perhaps you had time for adjustment.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

Jenubouka.... Thank you for telling me this has afffected you., although l hope you don´t have to meet too many ´broken´people.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

Thank you mckbirdsbks...... you are always supportive.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Thousand yard stare the combat vets would call it, or they used to. Dim, you've written something compassionate and moving with this poem. Those broken warriors deserve our best, and that's what you've done here. Bless you lady.


Maggie-May profile image

Maggie-May 4 years ago from the Island of Cape Breton to the Eastern Shores near Halifax, NS

So many unheard stories--very pensive piece--lovely words and story somehow told...


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 4 years ago

Dim you stirred me with your beautiful sad words of this broken man. We humans are fragile and can be broken in various ways. Wars are one of the major cause of mental stress and I work with a few vets from various wars fought and I see the change in them. The hollow empty eyes that stare back to the time they served our countries. You rendered a beautiful piece here Dim, bravo and rated way Up and all buttons pressed except the funny one.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

Hi Alastar Packer. l´m glad you approve of my efforts here. Thank you for the comment. l hadn´t heard the ´´Thousand yard stare´´ but it is very fitting.

Take care.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

Thank you, Maggie May. l appreciate you stopping by my page. There are far too many ´broken men´ because of war.

Take care.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

Thank you saddle rider, for such a great comment. (and for pressing all my buttons, as it were.)

My heart goes out to all men who have served their country, and at this time of year Nov. 11th it´s a great reminder of those lost. Needless to say l always feel for my Uncle Tommy at this time. He came back á broken man´from the P.O.W. camp. Sometimes feeling guilty that he´d survived??????? Who knows how difficult it must be when your mates are dying around you, you go through a living hell and then feel guilty???????

When l was a little girl in the 50s and 60s we used to have a minutes silence all over Britain, factories, schools, everything stopped for 1 minutes silence at 11.0. am on 11th day of the 11 month (November).


Xenonlit profile image

Xenonlit 4 years ago

This poem speaks for so many who are suffering when they "hadn't always been so broken."


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

...another classic by you my friend and indeed one of your best I might add. I love the way you tell a story through poetic narrative and make it seem so real just like a conversation ...... well you own my FACEBOOK page today and deservedly so - with another posting of this genuine classic of sentiment and remembrance - and with a direct link back here

lake erie time 2:18pm


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

Hello Xenonlit, pleased to meet you on hubpages.

Thank you very much for commenting.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

Der Epi man,

l hardly know what to say , you are so encouraging to me.

l can only thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continuous encouragement and especially for putting my work on your facebook.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Moved me to tears Dim, a beautiful poem.

Voting up, thank you


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

Sorry to make you cry and yet, glad that it moved you.

Thank you so much.


Lola1929 profile image

Lola1929 4 years ago from Oregon

Thank you, Dim. My husband worked with veterans until he retired a couple of years ago. He mostly worked with Vietnam Vets. I think they would be moved to hear your poem... that someone (a stranger) took time out to think of them. And, because of you, we think of them, too.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

What a wonderful comment. l truly appreciate it. l feel for any war vets, but vietnam vets hold a special place in my heart because it was ´my generation´Boys my age, often no more than 19 sent to that ghastly place so far away. Thank you for all your comments today. you are keeping me busy. l just had to start reading yours and pressed ´follow´.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

Good work. Enjoyed this immensely


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

Thank you, for taking the time to read and comment.

Pleased to meet you on hubpages


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

you're welcome. any time. Pleased to meet u as well


femmeflashpoint 4 years ago

Dim,

My first poem of yours to read, and as lots on here know, I'm only starting out with the poetry reads. I've never been compulsively poetic in reading or writing.

But, I couldn't have selected something better to have found written by you, for my first exposure to your work.

It's beautiful.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

Well Hi there!!! What a wonderful compliment for me.

l am very pleased that you enjoyed it.

Here´s to many more reads of eachothers work. !!!!

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