Sometimes, it’s all you have

The fighting is hardest at night
when stray rounds explode everywhere;
you wonder then, Did I do enough?
Could I possibly have done more?
That is how you learn it,
this weariness that commands,
because the survival of survivors
is risky,
even after the firefight is done.

And it’s not exactly chance
and it’s not exactly wisdom
and it’s not exactly anything I understand,
but all the hopes, prayers, curses and tears
are, in the end,
the only comforts left to those
who carry on as best they can.
Mind and body suffer both,
but somethings never heal.

The last two lines of this poem are based on the quote, “Mind and body both suffer, however. Some of it never heals.” from The Napalm detail by Claude Williams, an on-line essay about his Korean War experience serving at infamous Outpost Harry in 1953.

I was speaking with a friend and we were discussing the pain and worry that we, as parents, go through over  our children’s struggles. And while I would not equate the intensity of fear every parent has over their children’s life choices to that of being in a theater of war, I was struck by the similarity of the processes: the worry, the sense of loneliness, the self-doubts, the fear, the worrisome nights and the struggle with sleep.

Thank you for reading Sometimes, it’s all you have. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


© 2012 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2012 by John Etheridge,

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