Thinking of Ongoing U.S. Troops In Afghanistan

To U.S. Infantryman, Afghanistan

Dear one,
dear one.
I don’t know why
they put you on a road
that hides mines. You
who are not truly
theirs. In a truck rumbling,

If I were a bird who could circle, I would swoop down
and snatch you up–you would
cry out at first, so prised– your buddies might
lift arms–but my wings would beat
implacably, beak flashing, and soon the sky
would hold us in its light clasp, in our
blue laughter, you who have
such an easy laugh.

But I am not a bird
and you are on that road
and I can only try to impress it
with the will of the many who love you,
to roll out upon it
an invincible mind tar, a safe-sealing asphalt.

But how does one impress one’s will upon
a road?

Pray for a safe
away, reason that your passage will somehow make
a space for trucks of books
next time, busloads
of school girls.

I try to hear
their chatter, the wisped swish of braids
as backs shift soft planes
between angles of shade and brilliance, the curved inroads of
their smiles, lips’ foray into mound cheek.

They would smile at you
if they could, you whose sweet smile
seems to say to each it meets, I’m yours, yours
for a short while.

A bit of a break from thinking of India today (in A/C of Ahmedabad hotel room morning) and thinking of the recent deaths of U.S. servicemen and State Department personnel in Afghanistan, and the ongoing presence of American troops there, including a dear family member. Keep these guys and girls in your hearts and minds–they are still at risk, perhaps even more so with the drawdown. Let them get home soon.

I will try to post for dVerse Poets Open Link Night, though I am a bit confused abut timing. It is Tuesday noon here already. k.

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37 Comments on “Thinking of Ongoing U.S. Troops In Afghanistan”

  1. brian miller Says:

    if only we could impress our will on the road, or cover it in seal to make it safer for our sons and daughters in harms way…smiles…if only a bird to swoop down on them…cool bit that…and again, if only…i feel your heart…

    and i will link you in…smiles.

  2. claudia Says:

    If I were a bird who could circle, I would swoop down
    and snatch you up…if we only could safe them and get them out of the danger that way…and hope you’re feeling already a bit better…

  3. hedgewitch Says:

    A delicate blend of strength and vulnerability–the sense of powerlessness is the worst, but of course, what happens in this world for good or ill is usually beyond our control–we just don’t often have to confront what that means as you do here so eloquently, k. A fine poem. And yes, it’s too easy to forget those who are slogging on in this interminable war–especially when you feel the war itself is pointless–but we should never feel that the effort and sacrifice these men and women are making is without value.

  4. aprille Says:

    We all desperately want to have your good wish come true.

  5. I got very very ill a few years ago, and since then I’ve kind of bent the road to adjust to me. I can’t say I’ve had my dreams come true yet- but I’m realising some big goals. This really made me stop and whilst reading I had that old familiar lump in my throat. That familiar sense of what do I do now. Lovely write x

  6. Tino Says:

    Bring em home, the sooner the better.
    I too grow sick and tired of hearing or reading about our guys dying over there. So thanks for turning the spotlight on their plight again, we cannot afford to forget what is going on out there.

  7. “In a truck rumbling, heavy-wheeled.” Sounds like what it says.

  8. I just completed an anti-war poem at my blog for Real Toads, so this has been weighing heavily on my mind. For 10 years. Since the first body bag, I’ve held the bullhorn at peace rallies… and every time I see a member of the armed forces, I stop to shake their hand and say “thanks,” especially those who seem troubled. I wish your loved one well, truly I do.

    I pray they all come back safely, but the wounds described by so many vets (first “shell shock” and later “Agent Orange” or whatever) will never, ever leave them, so I also support vets’ groups, because the VA is not enough. And those who started the war (Bush, Cheney) all dodged service themselves. Amy

  9. Anna :o] Says:

    A fine poem Karin and oh that all our service personnel could be safe and return home to us…

    Anna :o]

  10. stevenmgrant Says:

    I asked a question to the wind and its response passed over face and dried my tears. Very nice piece!

  11. This is lovely. I do hope the return is swift, my husband was a navy man and I remember those days of longing. You’ve captured them well. My favorite is the last stanza, just beautiful.

  12. Raven Says:

    What a fantastic poem. Found you at dVerse – so you made it. I am glad that you did. I have such an appreciation for this. I have written a good bit of war poetry. Now I am inspired by the headlines as they relate to war. So, I was here all the way with you. Thank you.

  13. ayala Says:

    Nice poem and lets pray that they come home safely.

  14. Thank you for writing this poem. Sometimes we poets are so caught up in our own imagination that we forget how concrete the world is we live in. I hope soldiers are inspired by this fine piece of poetry.

  15. Steve King Says:

    I believe you capture here what so many feel…a sense of fatalism, powerlessness about the great tides that affect us. Important thoughts, so very well presented.

  16. I understand your impulse to want to swoop in and save them – I also recognize your despair and frustration. This is a good poem about a very touching subject.

  17. kelly Says:

    this is marvelous, heartbreaking, but so vivid and filled with perfect imagery. yes, let them all get home soon, and safe. this is a poem i will long remember.

  18. viv blake Says:

    More angel than bird in this tender, loving poem full of beautiful phrases. A poem to re-read.

  19. Laurie Kolp Says:

    So tender, especially the second stanza.

  20. Rowan Taw Says:

    A friend of mine’s partner works in bomb disposal. This made me think of her, and how it’s a wish that she would surely share. Wishing is so important, even if it doesn’t appear to have an effect, we need to keep wishing.

  21. A great poem, filled with the ache of having a loved one over there. I can’t wait for the allied troops to be withdrawn…it’s been way too long and much heartache for family and friends and the troops themselves… beautifully penned!

  22. janehewey Says:

    beautiful strength of voice, full with compassion. I wonder what will help humans lay down their weapons. Certainly a sense of compassion is a start, and maybe the solution. You have it here.

  23. punnypalaver Says:

    Powerful poem–you capture the parent’s love, fear, helplessness to protect when it is so needed. A beautiful tribute!

  24. Pamela Says:

    Karin, this beautiful and poignant. I so enjoyed it. I hope your trip is going well.


  25. Kim Nelson Says:

    A loved one recently competed his second tour in Afghanistan. It is a far more daunting assignment than most of us want to consider. Your poem is precious and perfect in its tone, emotion, intent.

  26. Oh, perfect love in this. What you have said here speaks to so many thing. Its perfect.

  27. Mary Says:

    Wishing them all a safe return….and soon.

  28. So wretchingly heartbreaking to have loved ones in harms way – so beautifully expressed. K

  29. apshilling Says:

    an invincible mind tar, a safe-sealing asphalt : great line right there!

    brave guys and girls believing in their country and their brothers in arms is a beautiful thing! 🙂

  30. kkkkaty Says:

    I also like the asphalt correlation; you are writing beautiful and sympathetic poetry while there…hope you get better quickly.K-

  31. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    This is a beautiful poem! It moves me far more than any political rant — of which I have read many on the same subject. It’s the tenderness that does it; and your beginning is perfect, setting that tone from the outset.

  32. bring ’em home! poetry brings us closer to change…positive change. bring ’em home!
    mark butkus

  33. Sabio Lantz Says:

    Wow, in India, in all that is different. And your mind is drawn to write about Afghanistan when you have tons of new stuff to write on. Worry for your loved one must be indeed very heavy. May he/she be well — as may the rest.

    Excellent poem-prayer sent to him/her on the wings of a bird.

  34. Lila Says:

    I have not read your poems in a while.
    I hope you feel better real soon. You’re lucky to be in India to see all those wonderful elephants.

    I can relate to this poem, k. It speaks to the heart. Not only is it expressive and true, it’s moving. I feel like this is not really written for us to read but for them. A prayer and a longing for peace and safety for the innocent. Beautiful.

  35. Margaret Says:

    But I am not a bird
    and you are on that road

    This is they type of poetry I love. Prosaic in nature, earthy, real. Pulled from the gut.

  36. Jeff Says:

    So touching, an eloquent tribute to them who serve.

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