Not Trained for This

As always, a great article at One Stop Poetry, by Shay (Fireblossom). It is on free verse again – and the poem that came at first was iambic and blow me if I didn’t keep walking into rhymes! Some I have left in. Maybe the iambic thing is because this first arrived in my imagination as a conversation.

As always, this is a first draft and by the time you read it I will probably have changed it. Please, if you have a burning desire to critique, I would be very grateful for your ideas!

I apologise that it is once again about war, but until I finish the collection, I feel as though I must stick to the subject…only 15 more poems to go…



Crumpled suit, spotted tie, hands akimbo
“trust me” smile stretching wide,
unfortunate lips, politico’s pale eyes
slide sideways – up and to the right.

‘This is so wearing,’ he whines,‘ It is way too hard.
Not what I was trained for.
Not in my job description.
I have no heart for this.’

Pristine combats mottled
camo green. ‘Don’t worry’
smile on his face. Eyes
grin straight into the camera.

‘This is my job, my chance
to make a difference. I’ll be
home before you know it.
Here, keep this photo close.’

‘Comforting the grieving
is not what I’m paid to do,
I’m no fekking counsellor. What
can you want from me?’

Yes, I wanted war, but it’s
not my fault they die. Look -don’t ask
me awkward questions
in case I have to lie.’

‘I talk to the people Mum,
sit with them for tea – I smile
a bit and nod, give biros to
the kids and share my jelly babies.

It’s not what I imagined, hard to
tell who’s who, but most of them
just work hard and try to
make it through.

‘You mothers ask too much, want to bleed
me dry. You fathers say too little
just glare and thin your lips as if
you can’t wait for compensation.

I shouldn’t have to talk to you,
I’m  not up for this, now I’m
struggling to sleep at night. Just
what do you expect?’

He came home very quickly, long before his time
wrapped in the Union flag. She watches, follows, slumps –
no words, no tears, no feelings left at all.
Remembers how he shaved only once a month.

She needs basic training in the ways
she might survive. No child should die
before their Mum. One day she’s bound to ask them
‘Why?’ Then watch their lying eyes.

The minister turns away, hands stiff by his side
his brick heavy words lobbed
into silence


About SallyJ

I am a writer and a poet.
This entry was posted in death, Family, free verse, heroes, One Stop Poetry, poet, Uncategorized, war, writer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Not Trained for This

  1. Sally, this was funny, sad, all the things a good narritive poem should be. I can’t believe I’m the first to comment here, I certainly hope I’m not the last. This little snapshot of conversation was well poised and very well written!

  2. SallyJ says:

    Thank you Shan…maybe the subject is not to everyone’s liking. I’m glad you liked it – thanks for the encouragement.

  3. coalblack says:

    if mothers ran the world, there would never be another war.

    cb (fireblossom)

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