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Do Not Forget Our Fathers - A Poem

Updated on November 18, 2012

This man

shrugged casually like

all the other smooth young men


yawned their way to war and

died in snow and mud witnessed

by frozen blank-eyed horses used

to haul their bone racks to

field hospitals for


After a long time the generals

had had enough,

cellared their fine wines and women

and told the young men to go home.

Prime Ministers and Presidents and Chancellors

said they were sorry for the inconvenience, but

no one said

Thank You, since there was no Audience

and important men hate

words to ring in empty rooms.

This man went home as casually as he left

the town gave him a parade with balloons and a band

and cheerleaders and speeches and sally wilson did him

standing up

behind the gymnasium

under a huge orange harvest moon.

All he remembered was the balloons.

He tried to understand, tried to grasp

why he’d gone away. They told him it was

for freedom

and country

and honour but

all he felt was

the blood-bite of razor wire,

the dulling weight

of his own skin,

the swirl of metallic blood

in his mouth.

This man went away a casual boy

came back a broken casual toy

in a man’s body, dreaming about parades

and speeches and balloons.

mostly about balloons

drifting in

magic and laughter

rippling like slow-dragged silk across the

shattered fields and broken hopes


on the couch in the


planning room.

© clark cook


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    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 4 years ago from Canada

      A sombre and vivid recollection moonfroth, from father to son, you honor the war dead, and the grisly memories of those that made it home alive. Regards, snakeslane

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 4 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Yep.. I always do... my dad was WW2 era... my Grandfather and his brothers served through WW1... the kiwis entered into it at Gallipoli 15/4/14 against the Turks... met up with the Canadians at Ares - I believe that is where 'On Flanders Fields' was penned and the Canadians won their battle... lest we forget huh? Unbelievable what they suffered.. I should write more on WW1... a lot was shared with me as a boy.. so Cheers... take care...

    • moonfroth profile image

      Clark Cook 4 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)

      thanks PD. tonight let's raise a glass at midnight for our fathers and what they endured.

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 4 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      And so the clock strikes 99 years

      we sit and ponder battle maps

      with no comprehension of trench warfare

      or the pain long buried in tortured souls..

      Secret files buried for yet another 51 years

      and so another two generations remain unaware

      We sit and ponder killing fields

      long since ploughed

      the blood red poppies silent

      yet unwashed hands know

      and dig we must, to find humility

      now the lowest comprehension of and for

      the lives of our fathers

      and the souls they left behind...

      mort dans l' Somme

      - a gift of my words for you this New Years Day my friend, of the ANZACs that served along side your dad.... take care PD

    • moonfroth profile image

      Clark Cook 4 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)


      XSTATIC -- Thanks for your sensitive comment. My Dad was in WW I. Horses were used extensively by Canadian forces, and he told me some awful stories about what happened to these animals. . .and men. He saw too much action. It affected him, I'm sure, in a hundred ways he never shared with the family.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Outstanding portrayal of the bewilderment veterans must feel upon their return from Hell. Your line about horses reminded me of scenes from the movie War Horse, which depicted scenes of bloody slaughter and the cruelty of war for man and beast.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I'll bet you cherish those stories with your Dad as much as the ones my Dad and I shared. So glad our paths have crossed. I enjoy your creations.

    • moonfroth profile image

      Clark Cook 5 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)

      Shining--many thanks for your kind word. My Dad was a Vet of WW I and went thru three years of hell until he transferred to the fledgling RAF for the last 18 months of the war. A couple of images in the poem (the horses, for example) are rooted in stories he told me.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      As my Dear Dad always said "War is hell". He was a WWII vet and my Hero, not only because of his sacrifice, also because of the example he showed me with a life honorably led.

      You are a talented composer of words, spinning the tale in such a way that the reader is right there, through the mind, envisioning each feeling, emotion and atmosphere.

      They should probably just remove the "voting down" button on your page. Ha Ha Ha

    • lilyfly profile image

      Lillian K. Staats 5 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska

      I cannot say enough... I am floored by your portrayals of deep knowledge. You must continue, for us, much love, lily

    • Christopher Price profile image

      Christopher Price 5 years ago from Vermont, USA

      I protested against the Viet Nam war in my college days, but it was a night spent in a nameless town drinking and sharing stories with a tired weathered veteran of the Korean Conflict that taught me there is no "good war" for those who fought it...30 years later he couldn't drink the memories away or sleep without the nightmares.

      This is a fine portrayal of one twisted thread from the bloody tapestry that, like Odysseus' faithful Penelope, mankind insists on weaving, unraveling and reweaving again and again.

      This is another well written piece...a pleasure to read, a reason to ponder.