.

When soldiers die,
They give two lives.
The one they had,
And one denied:
 
The spouse not met,
The child unknown,
The life unsaved,
The welcome home,
 
The hill unclimbed,
The beach unseen,
The books unread,
The field un-gleaned,
 
The chance to see
Their daughter-bride,
To guide their son
On his first ride,
 
The friends not made,
The Christmas trees,
The job not done,
Life’s victories,
 
The end of war
That took his life,
How homeland healed
From bloody strife—
 
So many parts
Of his one chance
Denied to him
By battle’s lance.
 
When soldiers march
To defend their Rome,
Pray nightly prayers
That they’ll come home.

.

.

Michael Charles Maibach began writing poems at age nine.  Since then he has continued writing poems, and sharing them with friends.  His career has involved global business diplomacy.  He is a native of Peoria, Illinois.  Today Michael resides in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.  More of his poems are found at www.MaibachPoems.us or on Facebook.


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9 Responses

  1. Ryan Watch

    Mr. Maibach, your poem accurately portrays the bleak and tragic fate of the brave soldiers who give their lives to defend their beloved country! The terse rhythm of the poem’s iambic diameter adds more expression to the unspoken words that many soldiers are unable to convey to their loved ones. What makes it even more heartbreaking is that many soldiers yearn for a normal life or some respite from battle, and you have managed to illustrate that desire through a dream sequence which is described in the following stanzas:

    The spouse not met,
    The child unknown,
    The life unsaved,
    The welcome home,

    The hill unclimbed,
    The beach unseen,
    The books unread,
    The field un-gleaned,

    The chance to see
    Their daughter-bride,
    To guide their son
    On his first ride,

    The friends not made,
    The Christmas trees,
    The job not done,
    Life’s victories,

    Your poem truly moved me Mr. Maibach, and I commend you for this bittersweet portrayal of a soldier’s life.

    Reply
    • Susie Miller

      Thank you Michael Maibach for your heartfelt poem on a soldier’s death. Were there were, more patiotic thoughts as yours.

      Reply
  2. Ryan Watch

    Up north and south,
    There lie the dead.
    Upon their mouths
    Are words unsaid.

    Words that were meant
    To say goodbye.
    Words that were meant
    To calm the cries.

    If only they
    Could have again
    The chance to say
    The unspoken.

    God bless all the brave soldiers who give their lives to make ours better! Our prayers are with you!

    Reply
  3. Jan Darling

    Mr Maibach – your fractured images are very powerful. A sad reminder, also, of the fractured lives so many of our defenders suffer on their return. In Australia, right now, we are about to start the shockingly unfair trial of a decorated soldier who is being charged with murder! while on duty in Afghanistan. It is a national disgrace – but what else might you expect of military chiefs who are trying to impose the use of PRONOUNS that don’t offend the genderly confused! Thank you for your contribution to our humanity.

    Reply
  4. Paul Freeman

    Fantastic poem, Michael. I liked the way you left out the reasons for the war and how the soldier died, both of which would have detracted from the strength of the poem’s message – the individual with a life unnecessarily unlived (I hope this makes sense).

    I did have a couple of suggestions. The half-rhyme ‘unknown’ and ‘home’, and ‘lives’ and ‘denied’ work well. How about ‘unseen’ half-rhyming (if it technically does) with ‘unsown’.

    The other suggestion would be to change ‘defend’ to ‘save’. ‘Defend’ implies a soldier doing his or her job, whether they feel (or know) on the larger scale they’re defending a right or wrong cause, whereas ‘save’ also implies defending a threatened family and a threatened way of life, irrespective of the cause (again, I hope this comes across clearly).

    Occasionally I read a war poem that packs real punch. For me, this one, with its ‘what if’ future scenarios, does so in spades.

    Reply
  5. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Thank you, Michael, for this heart-touching angle on the loss of soldiers to war. To give those too-soon-departed souls two lives; “The one they had,/And one denied” brings home the enormity of their sacrifice – a humbling reminder of all we should be grateful for.

    Reply
  6. David Whippman

    A terse, effective poem. So much potential never to be; so much sacrifice, much of it now all too often unappreciated. I was reminded especially of the wealth of poetic talent in WW1. How many gifted writers had their creative lives cut short?

    Reply
  7. Patricia Redfern

    David!

    Outstanding in its simplicity, yet truly wrenching to our hearts.So mamy lives denied in their prime.
    And, I’m many wars!

    Reply

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