Thursday, February 23, 2017

Separation

If this poem had wires
coming out of it,
you would not read it.
~Kevin Powers


This week I've been reading Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting by Iraq veteran Kevin Powers.

Here's an excerpt of "Separation":

Separation
by Kevin Powers

I want the boys at the end of the bar
to know, these Young Republicans
in pink popped collar shirts, to know
that laughter drives me mad
and if one must be old
before one dies, then we were
old. Nineteen or twenty-three
and we were old and now...

read the rest here.


A previous post on soldier-poets.

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Karen Edmisten is hosting the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Karen!

Addendum: I was reminded of a wee post from January, where I talked about not knowing what was going on with someone just from looking at them. If we could operate from a place of compassion, prioritizing one another's health (including mental), that could change the world.

21 comments:

Brenda Harsham said...

That is a powerful poem about veterans and about alienation.

Alice Nine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alice Nine said...

Powerful poem. I speak as the wife of a veteran. Your addendum is absolute truth -- compassion for the soldier and compassion for the "Young Republicans" who laughed. Thanks for sharing, Tabatha.

jama said...

Powerful and gut wrenching poem. Your comment about compassion is so true. That and empathy seem to be sorely lacking today.

Linda B said...

The poem makes me sad all over again. I know there are young ones experiencing this today, but I have a cousin from the first Gulf war who changed so much when he returned. And then there are friends from tours in Vietnam. We do not know all the stories of people, you are right, Tabatha. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

Liz Steinglass said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing this. I want to read more of his writing.

katswhiskers said...

Those of us who have not been can never really comprehend this. But writing like this goes a long way towards grounding us in their shoes. Such a heartbreaking situation - for veterans and family members/friends.

Linda said...

As a veteran, I am very interested in this topic. Our military men and women need our support and compassion. Thank you for introducing me to this book. I'm going to see if our library has a copy.

Violet Nesdoly said...

Wow - the whole poem is powerful and moving. It reminds me of a documentary I saw a few weeks ago of a journalist who suffers from PTSD after covering numerous tragedies like the earthquakes in Japan and the Philippines. Like you say in your addendum, if we could know what's going on inside someone, we'd (hopefully) operate with a whole lot more compassion).

Kay said...

That is such a powerful poem. It reminds me of a short story by Gary Paulsen (I can't quite remember the name of it) that I used to share with my classes.

Tara Smith said...

Oh my...that's a kick in the gut kind of poem.

Mitchell Linda said...

Oh, Tabatha, what a poem that hits in the gut. What a poem for today. You always "get" me in some way on a Friday. This poem is one I know I will think about someday...maybe in a bar or when I see a vet or those young guys in their shirts that have no idea.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Powerful poem, Tabatha - I hadn't heard of him or his book, but I'd love to find it.

Sally Murphy said...

Very powerful. Thanks for sharing.

BJ Lee said...

What a touching and devastating poem! I am reminded of Wilfred Owen's poetry. Thanks for sharing!

moreart4all said...

A powerful poem that cries to be heard, thanks for sharing it!

Laura Shovan said...

This poem is a heart-breaker. I'm so proud of the vets who are using poetry and other art forms as a means of telling their stories and healing. There is a veterans journal called O-Dark-Thirty.

https://o-dark-thirty.org/

Doraine Bennett said...

Such heartbreak. A powerful poem, Tabatha. Thanks for sharing.

Ben said...

Yikes!

Ruth said...

Wow.

Karen Edmisten said...

Oh, Tabatha, what a gut-wrenching poem. Thank you.