Strange Victory

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Strange Victory  (For Veterans, Of Whom I Do Not Think Enough)

If even a spill
from a thermos
leaves a scar,
a half-”v” upon my knee–
then how can we, no matter how
insulated, not see
the lines on those
whose lives
have been hit hard
in the head, burned at more
than edges, who, giving all and
asking precious
little, we thank
with precious less.

***************************************************

Another grim poem of sorts in 55 words for the G-Man.  (Sorry, Galen.)  This one inspired by listening to my husband talk about a very interesting, if very sad, book called Thanks For Your Service by David Finkel.  Finkel writes of the difficulties faced by veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  In this holiday time, please keep in mind that the U.S. still has troops in Afghanistan–it is not the troops’ fault if no one is sure what they are doing there.

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14 Comments on “Strange Victory”

  1. grapeling Says:

    this line break is excellent: “no matter how / insulated”, and you illustrate the fragility so well here, Karin. ~

  2. Jamie Dedes Says:

    The post and poem make a good point, K. I’m not pro-war; but, neither do I take for granted the sacrifice that these women and men (and their families) are making forwhat they think is right for the love of our country and the love of their families and their commitment to freedom. I am grateful for that. Lets bring them home and treat them right, giving all the care they need to heal and get on with life as it was meant to be.


  3. Sad. Thoughtful and tenderly penned.

  4. G-Man Says:

    Karin!!!!!
    We’ve had this conversation before…You NEVER apologize for a thing. Any contribution by you is Top Notch!
    Loved your Awareness 55
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us all.
    You always make me beam with pride…:-)
    Have a Kick Ass New Year!!!!!

  5. Mama Zen Says:

    The close is perfect. Just perfect.

  6. claudia Says:

    it’s sad how we tend to forget those that serve our country… and so many of those scars will never heal… ugh… war is something terrible

  7. brian miller Says:

    ah, because life is easier when we dont have to feel or care for anyone but ourselves….now threaten that and we’ll get all kinda fired up…sucks how we forget those that gave us freedom…

  8. hedgewitch Says:

    There is a great separation between those who have been in war and those who haven’t. I’ve seen the author of that book interviewed, (I believe on All In with Chris Hayes,) where they discussed how tongue-tied people are around vets beyond saying the inevitable ‘Thanks for your service–‘ IIRC, he suggested people ask them how they were, what they were doing, ie, speak to them as if they had lives like anyone else. I love your simple opening-line metaphor here, as it expresses so well the vast chasm between everyday pain and the trauma of war. We truly cannot comprehend, but we can try to express our connection and our debt to them, I think, by taking them into our own normal lives.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      That sounds right. I am reading Finkel’s “The Good Soldiers” right now, which is very well written, but just kind of awful–for me–I hate knowing that bad things will happen; my sense of foreboding is almost painful, and of course, this is all true. Thanks for reading, Joy. k.

  9. janehewey Says:

    I do not even pretend to know how to thank those whose lives have been hit so hard. My grandfather never spoke of the wars. He served at the end of WWll and during the Korean War He died of complications from emphysema when he was in his 60s. He sacrificed himself and his family. I never thanked him. I second the wisdom Hedgewitch conveys in her comment above. By bringing the survivors into our daily lives, we may actually be able to extend gratitude. This is a strong poem, I admire your ability to convey so much in such a condensed way. Poetry is not done with this topic. After reading your 55, I am thinking about it on another level. Thank you.

  10. hpliebekraft Says:

    I think this is beautiful and very true. Don’t apologize for it being “grim.” We can’t pretend that life is all sweetness and light when it’s not.


  11. That is the sad part of army lives, when the war they fight gets a bad name, their service too is looked down upon!

    no one listens to their part of the story.


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