07 March 2008

A Soldier's Prayer

Teresa Stone says her poem, A Soldier's Prayer, "was written over several months at the end of 2007 into 2008. Vashtie is my middle name and I am a US Army veteran."

In this poem she prays to retain her own peace and humanity, "Yet the guilt still fights to sway / Me away from a fragile sanity," and wonders, "Yet fear all will be stained / By the hell I cannot leave behind."

Thanks, Teresa, for your service and your poem. Please stay sane.

______________

A Soldier's Prayer
by Vashtie


I'm on my way to another land

To fight for what others say I must

Sent off with waves and a marching band

I struggle not to cry as I wipe the dust

From my eyes, now losing sight of you


Your smile goodbye burns in my mind

Your loving touch, my lips on yours

Give me the strength to find

The courage to serve these many tours

Then return quickly and safely to you


I pray, oh Lord, I pray

That I have the courage to be afraid

Of the things that make me human

To face those fears each day

With strength and valor from within


The miles grow between us each day

But my heart remains strong and true

To the thought of you and a future day

When I can return whole, complete to you

And find the life I've left behind


Your eternal love makes me strong

A picture of you always in sight

Your closeness, your touch I long

For in the middle of the lonely nights

As I cling to the hope of you and us


I pray, oh Lord, I pray

That I have the courage to be afraid

Of the things that make me human

Help me face those fears each day

With strength and valor from within


While the battle rages outside and within

I pray that the ones I kill are the enemy

And not the innocents who struggle to win

Their way of life, their destiny

Now interrupted by weapons of arrogance


With blood on my hands I can't deny

The look, the fear in their eyes

I hold my breath, try not to cry

And pray, reaching up to the skies

That peace will come soon and stay


I pray, oh Lord, I pray

That I have the courage to be afraid

Of the things that make me human

I endeavor to face those fears each day

With strength and valor from within


I ache to stay alive and see you again

That you'll love me just the same

And though I've taken a life

Not judge me too harsh or blame

Me for what I had to do.


My fallen comrade's face

Haunts me day and night

I stay strong as I race

With all my heart and might

To avenge this hero's death


I pray, oh Lord, I pray

That I have the courage to be afraid

Of the things that make me human

I struggle to face those fears each day

With strength and valor from within


I did what I had to do

In this land so far away

This I know to be true

Yet the guilt still fights to sway

Me away from a fragile sanity


The end of my tour is near

I'm excited. I'm afraid

I long for all I hold dear

Yet fear all will be stained

By the hell I cannot leave behind


I pray, oh Lord, I pray

That I have the courage to be afraid

Of the things that make me human

I journey on to face those fears each day

With strength and valor from within


How can I make the transition

From warrior to peaceful citizen

How can I turn such an imposition

Into a truth without criticism

Without your love to keep me strong


Take me back with open arms

Help me see the good despite the bad

Help me heal and do no harm

And turn my tears to ones of joy now sad

This is my prayer to you.

_____________

(Though Ms. Stone didn't serve in the current Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts, she was was on active duty during Gulf War I and served two tours in Korea. As an interesting aside, her great-great grandfather, Wallace Bruce, was a Civil War veteran and world-renowned poet who wrote poems for military units "for a variety of ceremonial reasons - the unit was standing-down, an anniversary, a medal awarded, etc."

In her own words, "The poem is genuine, the feelings expressed are genuine and real and my hope is that it will touch not just soldiers but allow those who don't go off to war - especially the ones we're engaged in now - to know just what it costs someone to have to do so. This war was engaged in with complete disregard to the sacrifice of so many brave, and often too-young, people." )

1 comment:

Dyanne said...

I enjoyed the poem for it invoked strong feelings of all wars. Thank you for writing it and for your service.

Dyanne