DRP ( / Newton, New Jersey)

The Ward

We find a gradient of hell
within the ward
of limbless warriors.
Grieve and believe
that worse chambers exist -
the ward of the spinal injured
the ward of the brain injured
the ward for severe emotional trauma.

Nevertheless, within these halls
reside the detritus of war.
Many still with a Huah! glow,
some cast a bewildered distant eye.
No longer in matched sets
are the strong young legs
that once leaped ditches,
the large bicepted arms
that cradled rifles.

These are young men,
at least for now.
We recall those of long ago
who sat in the town square
with pinned up
sleeves and trouser legs.
They grew old and faded away
taking with them
their own chronicle of loss
transmuted into glory.

Young men tricked by fate,
dream of once again being whole,
do pushups with one leg missing,
curse an arm that fumbles a simple task,
and discover a woeful truth.
They can never again go to war,
a privilege earned at a terrible price.

There remains but guarded hope,
trust that all is not in vain,
that somehow the sacrifice
has enduring value,
that young men did not die and suffer,
because of old men’s bluster.

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