Dear soldier,


I have devoted countless moments to thinking, “what do you write to a guy or gal sent to some hot foreign land where he or she faces death every day?”

I thought maybe it would be nice to tell you how brave and self-sacrificing you are. But, hell, that’s already been said over and over! Granted it is nice to hear. Its just not very original on my part!

I could tell you God is with you. He will look after you and your family. That this is, as much as possible, a war of good against evil. Not Christian against Islam, but rather a believer of any faith’s right to believe without being cowed down and terrorized by extremism. But what could I possibly say to you about this? You fight this war on the front line day in and day out! So what could I possibly say that you don’t already know!!

I could tell you how sorry I am that you lost one of your buddies today. But countless others have already told you that. They have also told you what a hero your buddy was. Said how proud our country is for his sacrifice. And, I know you would appreciate the kind thoughts.

But at the same time maybe I might be that one to break the straw. Instead of telling me thank you, you tell me to go fuck myself! I don’t know how you feel! What the hell is the mattter with you? Can’t you see I lost my buddy? Can’t you see my pain? I don’t want your words! I want my friend back! This sucks, it isn’t fair. Why did he die? Where is this God whose supposed to be looking out for us? All I feel is rage, then emptiness! Like I’m at the bottom of a deep well that only gets deeper with no light to guide me out!

Since I share that well too, I won’t take that risk!

Then I thought, how about sports. Most Americans like one sport or another. But, baseball, hhmm! The American past time! Apple pie and mom’s home cooking! What can beat that? But then I remembered the internet, blogs, and the MSM. So you must know about the steroid scandal. So even mentioning the game called due to bees wouldn’t offer the same appeal right now. Of course we all know in the end, the sport will survive. It’s all American! So that’s out, for now!

There are so many other things that I could tell you or talk about. And, I know you would appreciate them all. But everything seems so repetitive to me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not criticizing all those caring people who send you these wonderful expressions of love and support. I am simply facing my own feelings of inadequecy that I could say anything that would give you strength and comfort.

So let me just say that I walked my dogs yesterday. I thought about you all as I walked in the rain. I wanted to formulate my thoughts for this letter. Here’s what I came up with.

Yesterday I saw a Jonquil’s bloom! Its leaves were a bright green from the rain and reaching upward as if reaching toward the heavens. The flower was a bright yellow at its base and flowed gently outward blending into a soft, lighter pastel yellow on its tips. Its stem was strong and sturdy. It was beautiful! First flower of spring!

It had poked its head up through all the dead leaves and brush that surrounded it as if to say against all odds, I made it!

In closing may I share one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost:

“Birches”

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-coloured
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground,
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm,
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows–
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father’s trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate wilfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

— Robert Frost

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~ by devildog6771 on March 26, 2005.

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