Harvey Stanbrough

My Facebook friend and writing mentor.  He is an ex-marine and with all our service men, I am also grateful for his protecting us and our liberties. When I asked to publish one of his poems, said he didn’t think they would inspire.  Wrong, Harvey. This brought tears to my eyes.  Humanity touching humanity is always inspiring.  And Harvey, I think she knew, but not how to but it into words.  Here is his poem.

To a War Protester

for Lynn Cutts, and for Captain James R. DeVore, USMC

How odd that she should ask me for a poem
that might explain there were no enemies,
no heroes, and no villains in that war,
that underneath the uniforms were humans,
and no one on our side or on the other
knew hatred, spite, or righteousness — just fear.

And how should I begin? Should I say Faith
in god, country, and corps were stripped away
when Digger’s face exploded next to mine?
Should I describe the hot, incessant rain,
the mud that splattered up from falling men,
the M-16s that jammed with every round?

Can I, in adequate terms, hope to describe
the agony of pleading, bulging eyes
that knew my lies were nothing more? Can I
relate the sound of arms, legs, stomachs,
ripping off or open, and the feel
of hot, moist bits stinging my face?

Can I communicate the stench of fear,
the silence that precedes a concrete hell,
(one you can touch and one that touches you,
not the one the preacher talks about)
the taste of sweat that runs into your mouth,
the pus that coats your blistered, rotting feet?

I think not, but the hardest to convey
is that ride home, that flight out of Japan:
the leggy flight attendants (their sad eyes),
the absence of all fear, and then relief,
the tires screeching down, a jolt or two,
a hurried reluctance in mouthing last goodbyes.

The eyes negate the need for words, and then
the ramp! America! the scent of home,
the dream, the picket fence, the house, the job,
the girl, the kids, the moms, the dads, the dogs,
the cats, the bikes, the cars, and hair! But no:
someone throws blood and calls me Murderer.

How odd that she should ask me for a poem
that might explain there were no enemies,
no heroes, and no villains in that place,
that underneath the uniforms were humans,
just like those who carried protest signs.
How odd she didn’t know that on her own.

Harvey is selling two of his poetry books on line today.  Here is where to find them.  Poetry is a path to staying strong.

Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.

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