I wrote this poem a few years ago and happened upon it today. I wrote it as a two-fold dedication to those whom have experienced and died in the intensity of physical war, as well as to those who have experienced and died in the intensity of mental war. I, myself, have experienced the intensity of mental war. Living my entire life with a mental disorder has been no less an intense battle than the Battle of the Bulge. Upon research of the Battle of the Bulge, I was so intrigued and so intensely felt the pain of those soldiers that I had to write it down on paper. I hope that this will help you to feel the agony and sorrow of the extreme difficulties and tragedies of war. I hope you will see how human these young men are and how brittle their lives are. They have sacrificed everything for our country’s freedom. This is not a “happy” day. Today is a day of empathetic sorrow. That is what Memorial Day is about.
Frozen In the Foxhole
By: J. Philip Harris
In the hole the cold and bitter shake.
The terror blanket keeps warm the fragile pill.
The knives blow from east to west redundantly stabbing.
I lay down with guns and bombs, bullets and hand-grenades.
Laying silent as the soil eats into my face.
No noise, though the sirens bleed decibels like gaping wounds.
I quietly drive my mind away to far off lands
Tucked neatly out from all the cacophony.
Sleep sweet soldier boy
Lay your musket down
Drift off swiftly to the dreaming town.
All the booming lion’s lungs
All the vicious serpents tongues
All the chords of chaos strummed start to quiet down.
Sleep down deep your soul
Rushing off to your foreign bunker
Making safe the fragile pill
In the absence of my frozen mind
There on the forest loam
The empty soldier vessels lie.
The peaceful look upon their face
As if to say they’ve won the race.
Enduring no longer the battle.
Enduring no more the wolves of malice.
How happy lay the precious boys.
But I am here upon their grave.
A sitting duck of war enslaved.
Lost in uncontrollable chaos.
I hear the volleys one by one
Like slow knocks of death upon my door.
The rhythmic clicks like therapy.
Seconds pass like years
And suddenly they sooth me
And I hunker down to sleep
Frozen in the foxhole