War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

lazarus (22)

“I wish I could do something to help you. I’m so sorry to see you in such pain.”
“Write me a poem.” the old infantryman groaned, a week after surgery on one of his ancient knees.

The Honeymooners

demobbed, no house, broke, no job,
newly married, they lived in a plywood caravan,
the one clever infantryman built
then parked in an old cherry orchard for free rent.

at night they stared up through blossoms
at blush stars, the moon, universe
through the window he’d installed in the roof
“a honeymooner” .

“Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment”
“beds and hearts!” the old soldier told you
when you infantryman, were introduced,
only days after his war bride had died;

you didn’t feel comfortable going in
but the old man had wanted to see me,
meet you Lazarus, see your sand blasted skin,
he wanted to talk about Afghanistan.

he’d been a crack shot, knew his stuff,
“we’re nothing but PBI’s you and I”
you both laughed, I quizzed you two,
“Poor Bloody Infantrymen!” you both replied

“oh ya, I’ve heard it all before” I sighed,
“oh my aching back, we carry the load,”
four decades difference between you men,
no difference, a soldier’s a soldier’s a soldier, Roman, British, or Canadian.

training near by, in WWII
he used to bathe at her mother’s house
the bathtub watermarked, any excuse
to drop in, have a soak, see love again.

and I remember stars
I remember the colquitzia’s bare arms,
you soaking in my steaming hot tub
after the long drive through the mountains to me;

theirs was good, as love often is,
found through war, after war,
sweet, so damned unexpected from such misery,
sweet as bottled cherries in January.

“write me a poem” infantryman said
today, his knee imploded
from carrying ruck, a 6’2” life,
the honeymooner’s heart imploded,

but I can’t write, can’t rhyme, can’t scan
all I can is urge him, “soldier on soldier”
as I urge you, to push through to the other side,
remember winter’s honeymoon. with me.

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled lazarus (22). It was posted here on September 09, 2011.


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