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MEASURING UP

I see those rows, all of those rows
of white on verdant fields of green
there where scattered hardwood grows.
Men who saw what I have never seen.

When seeing them dark doubts assail me.
Have I earned what these heroes gave,
those resting here eternally
below white stones in their deep grave.

They gave their all that I might live
in a country strong and free.
I was never called to give.
How might such warriors view me?

In the midst of raging battle
would I have stood? Would I have run?
Would I have heard the hearses rattle
or rode them in the setting sun?

No way to know, no way to know.
Although I'd like to think that I
would be worthy for those men to know
who rest here beneath this cloud flecked sky.

Style / type: 
Structured: Western
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Editing stage: 

Comments

Soldiers have to eat and someone has to grow the food to feed them.

The last few American wars have had nothing to do with preserving freedom, just controlling oil, although I realise you are probably referring to the civil war.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Directors

It is powerful, real, challenging and you have applied the best of your wordcraft to it.
I honour you.
I've done a reading at SoundCloud,
https://soundcloud.com/neopoet/measuring-up-by-scribbler
May I post it to our Neopoet Facebook page?

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Directors

oh, if you have images or videos you would like to add I can do that easy-peasy.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Directors

Every time I see, even on TV, footage of any military graveyard I wonder if I had what it took to give my all fighting for freedom. And of course you can post a sound cloud recording. Plus any picture of any military graveyard would be appropriate......stan

author comment

I've done brave things protecting others but under a hail of bullets, over the duration of a war I do not know what I would do.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Directors

Im a Vietnam vet ….Your scared to death.... You give your all in a fight to stay alive.... Its terrifying....Thats why soldiers suffer PTSD ….Look at the reruns of old WW2 to see the effects of shell shock ie the nervous system is shattered. You see death and suffering by the ton. There are other weird effects of combat one of which is to fall in love with killing. The concept of a hero is a marketing ploy; a romanticization! Having said that there are those who are better suited for war or fighting then others and some excel but no one likes to lose and there's always a good chance of devastation

Z.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Directors

Vietnam was the first war we fought where a "civilian" was as likely to blow a soldier up as a soldier in uniform. I can't help but think that made the mental stress even worse. I have read a lot about the effects of full pinched battle on people. From what I gather just the continual deafening noise is enough to injure men and I believe that. I thank you for your service to America. You went when other fled to Canada or college. Thanks for your inside look at war........stan

author comment

Again my friend I hate to disagree but being ripped from ones life and having a gun shoved in your hand and thrown into a do or die situation totally against ones will is to be a victim and a slave not a brave warrior fighting for mom and apple pie.

Young men and women where manure for an acid soil in Vietnam It was a losing calculus Nixon sustained the war for his own personal political gain

Again pls don't thank me for being a victim of collusion/corruption by a vainglorious egomaniacal asshole who was content to see me killed for political expediency Id would have rather shot him in the fuckin skull then see one more Vietnamese or American corpse or cripple

How would you like to spend your life limbless or see your child like that for a corrupt Politian?

calls a failure did accomplish one thing. Before our intervention the entirety of southeast Asia was on the verge of having communism imposed on them. Out intervention limited this to Vietnam and Cambodia. So what you and others went through was Not a waste. And the fact that you Did go instead of fleeing to Canada makes you more that a lot of people who Did.

author comment

Not so fast grass hopper ;)
Pls don't thank me!!!!
During the Vietnam days as you alluded, where days of conscription If you volunteered you could select your MOS ie noncombat job; if you where drafted you'd probably end up in the infantry optimizing your chances of being wounded or getting killed I was totally against the war My political leanings always anti-authoritarian Always suspicious of Politian's ie how would you feel conscripted by an imperialist military power like the USA with a ditzy president who sent you or those you love for their pollical expediency to be blown to shit? Vietnam was not a war of necessity Ironic isn't it that our current government including much of the republican party supports a president that from all appearances is collaborating with the communists. That our democracy is a shill; a democracy in name only That we call our selves a capitalist country when the great bulk of the population are wage slaves living hand to mouth That the scales are tipped against the majority by the few wealthy who pay off Politian's for endless structural advantages and policies like the last tax giveaway

No PLS don't thank me for being used to kill and be killed against my will under threat of going to prison or leaving my home disgraced for life and a criminal

Best Z

I was a member of the first high school graduating class after the draft was suspended. Was rated 1H which meant if draft started back up I would be the first bunch drafted. Your being against the war and still fighting there was courageous whether you want it to be or not. BTW we have never been a democracy we are a representative republic.

author comment

In the context of this conversation the implication of this difference alludes me A representative republic is actually more egalitarian since the chief characteristic and distinguishing feature of a Democracy is: Rule by Omnipotent Majority. In a Democracy, The Individual, and any group of Individuals composing any Minority, have no protection against the unlimited power of The Majority.
Not a structure preferred if you believe in minority rights

Our system is much preferable to mob rule of pure democracy (despite the current freeze brought on by partisan politics)

author comment

Men who saw what I've never seen.

For a minute suspend all concepts we are familiar with in poetry Think of poetry as food like spice combinations
So words are flavors hot and sweet ,,,,sweet and sour...mild or pungent ...crunch vs creamy This is what great chefs play with

Word play ie the strategy of syllables ... Long vowels / short vowels...the length of words and sound of words in relationship to one another
Can we analyze the subtle abstraction of sounds ie words to the ear just like music This has an undertow of non verbal meaning Its a another device that most never use consciously ie strategically So when we say a poem is beautiful do we impart mean its those amazing tintinnabulating sounds that seduce with musicality?

If you consider this comment as valuable, now how does your phrase below sound?
"Men who saw what I've never seen".

Does this other line below give one a sense of magnitude?
"I see those rows, all of those rows"

EX: ie "a ghastly infinity of blood and soil" ie an infinitude of gashed skulls
torn necrotic bellies punched inside out:

Does this make sense?

I appreciate your ideas. This is the value of this site. One can post a poem written in haste and with meter dead ears and get honest feedback for improvement. If you keep up with my scribblings much you have notice I constantly go back to poems as old as 8-9 years and make changes to them. So my saying I'll keep your thoughts in mind in eventual edit is not just something I say, it's something I actually Do.........stan

author comment

I've never been to war, but I have fought for my life.
There are a few, very few poets, and for obvious reasons unpopular, who can put war in words.
I've never seen one published, they were shown to me on scraps of paper and in tatty old notebooks.

I never want to read them again. I am as an unspiritual. intolerant atheist as you would never care to meet. But those words made something indescribably ghastly real. If there is such a thing as magic it is in words, whether describing the numinous, the gorgeous or the unthinkable.

I am not a poet, I am an absorber, perhaps a connoisseur, certainly a lazy fuck. But when the sensory build up becomes too great I either have to write or have my brain explode.

I have never been able to get those war poems out of my head.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Directors

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