Poetry: A Soldier's Neighborhood

Where is your soldier today?
Where is your soldier today? | Source

"Mom" Called

I heard you came home the other day
to a country that doesn't greet
and now you can't make a living;
you're reduced to begging on the street.

Your Mom called and I offered to do what I could,
cancelled a day's work to come your way
before beginning my travel, after "Mom"
told me for employment you'd pray.

As I walked the steps to "Mom's" door,
I looked over the old neighborhood and
had a cold fear that those dreams
soldiers many times have, had left their marks

on a soul I was beginning to fear
may never recover, as "Mom" said.
Where on earth could she be now?
Was the day just getting too heavy?

My second knock went unanswered, too.
I'd use the key from the planter, better.
A quick look around inside told me
no one was about; but I saw the letter.

It said "Mom" and stood upright on the mantel.
I suddenly thought of our childhood,

Source
Source

when our single moms so often had to meet.
Your mother ever staunchly withstood.

Mine would deliver a searing speech,
screaming, "What are the rules, you two?"
She'd glare us all down, into us rip:
"The street's not the place to play!"

but my mother never won the war of words.
She'd jerk me to our door across the street
and exclaim to the listening neighborhood
I'd play no more with "that lady's son".

The next day we'd start it all again,
snickering between ourselves as friends.
My mother said we'd never be smart, but
yours, our "Mom", never predicted such ends.

I went to college while you chose war.
We drifted apart, made new lives and friends.
I wrote to you without receiving answers, but
the neighborhood days didn't entirely end.

I had wondered every day if you were safe,
recalled your braggadocio and your strength.
But were the frightening nights hot, or cold?
And did the raining bombs make you shake

with fear you endured? I'd never know.
And my wife died without your knowledge.
The Army became your final home, and
I remarried, gratefully gained two sons.

My mother died while yours flourished,
so I came to her, our "Mom", when she
called and said you'd been wounded and you
were anxious; she worried you'd flee.

The neighborhood looks the same today,
except for the house I left years ago.
At the opposite curb, your house is empty.
You're missing in the neighborhood today
.

Note: The second and fifth photographs in this Hub are attributed to the free stock site www.sxc.hu.com, as stock #'s 1353560 and 1323378.

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Comments 26 comments

aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

A powerful message from both perspectives. Very well done. Awesome and up.


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@aviannovice...Thanks for your observant comment!

You read what I wrote!


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Strong message for a solider, voted up and awesome, Joyce.


meow48 profile image

meow48 4 years ago from usa

really liked this message. thankyou. and take care.


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@writer20...Always good to hear from you, especially as I break new ground!

I know I'm on the right track if you like what I've expressed in poetry, as you do it so well yourself!

This Hub is the first attempt I've made to purposefully not rhyme everything, and I'm satisfied with the results, as well as wanting to continue that trend.


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@meow48...Nice of you to stop by and comment.

Thanks for your compliment, and I hope we meet again.


rahul0324 profile image

rahul0324 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

Strong Poetry! Falls straight to the heart!


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@rahul0324...Thank you for stopping by and leaving that complimentary comment!

I used a little different poetic format for "A Soldier's Neighborhood" than I have before, so I'm glad it's met with approval.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

powerful and well written - thank you


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@Mhatter99...Thank you so much!

Our soldiers give so much and many times receive so little.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

What a great tribute! So touching. Thanks for sharing on this special day.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Loved this..Very well done. Touched my heart. Thank you..


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

"Our soldiers give so much and many times receive so little." So very true.

Your poem was interesting in how it laid out the friendship between two neighbor friends when growing up and how life turned them in different directions.


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@teaches12345...Thank you for commenting!

We need to remember our soldiers always!


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@always exploring...Thank you for stopping in to read this poetry Hub!

I always enjoy reading your comments and your poetry, as well.


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@Peggy W...Thanks so much for the encouragement!

This poem just sort of revealed itself to me as I went. My passion for writing stories took over as I set these two friends on different paths. And that is one reason I love to write -- there is always a path.


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

wow this poem hit home.. My father was in the army.. he was in Korea when i was a baby he was on pork chop hill.. and then he went to Vietnam twice when I was a teenager

and when he came home he was treated so badly..what a wonderful poem you wrote. I am sharing on Facebook

I am DEBORAH BROOKS LANGFORD on Facebook if you want to be friends..


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@Deborah Brooks...Thank you very much for your complimentary share!

My Dad was Army, too, but I was just six months old when he came home from WWII (Japan occupation forces), and I didn't want anything to do with him at first!! :( Then he won me over by playing a whistling top on the floor with me, and I've loved him dearly ever since! He was a wonderful father to eight children. We lost him last year on Father's Day...

I just can't help feeling that the Vietnam War left so many of our guys unappreciated.

Thank you for your father's story! And I'll check Facebook!


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 4 years ago from London, UK

Very touching to read. Thanks for sharing.

(Elena from Facebook)


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@Lady_E...Thanks for your thoughts in stopping by!!


LaThing profile image

LaThing 4 years ago from From a World Within, USA

You painted a very powerful picture, but so true! So many people has gone through this experience..... Very touching! Enjoyed reading this.

Voting up and sharing!


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@LaThing...Thank you for your enthusiastic comments!

I'm beginning to enjoy more and more the art of poetry. It is, as you mention, a powerful picture painter in the matter of a few paragraphs.

Thanks for sharing!


Green Art profile image

Green Art 4 years ago

Your veru touching and special poem made me think of my step father Harold who was a WWII Navy Veteran. He had a profound sadness about him. He told me a few things about his service but not very much. I didn't press him because I could tell it was difficult to talk about. He didn't want anything to do with guns after the war. Despite pressure from the funeral director to have a gun salute at his grave site our family honored his memory with prayer and silence. Voted up and Beautiful!


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@Green Art...I really appreciate you stopping by to leave a very profound comment!

I, too, noticed a distinct reluctance on the part of WWII vets, including my own father, to share little about war and combat experiences. It must have been awful to have to go through that, and we must never forget that we owe everything to those who did. But it seems hard for them to speak of without great emotion, and silence apparently is easier to bear.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Barb . . .

Wow! This was so moving and touching; so real.

This is an excellent piece of writing. Amazing, to be quite frank with you.

I loved every word--and the lay-out was superb. Interesting, in-depth, helpful, and very informative. Great job.

Voted up and all the choices, but Funny, because you deserve it.

You have such a gift for writing. Just keep writing and good things are bound to happen to you.

Sincerely,

Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 21 months ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@Kenneth avery...

Thank you, belatedly, Ken! I've been away. Certainly, though, I appreciate you taking the time to comment -- and so complimentarily -- on this poem. It remains one of the poems that I've written that came in inspiration form. Our soldiers give so much!

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