An old poem for a new task on dVerse

I really wanted to participate in this week’s dVerse challenge – using verbs from a particular profession to strengthen a poem and to find new verbs to refresh an idea.
Unfortunately I am very caught up in other writing with tight deadlines and so, rather than not post, I offer an old poem – ‘Soldier’, with apologies to those who may have read it before. It is one in which I attempted to employ verbs with a military flavour to underline the way uniform and soldierliness hides identity, though probably not to the extent that this task really required.


I don’t know the man who stands
camouflaged, in green battledress,
feet apart, straight back, still hands,
unwitting, not dressed to impress.

Camouflaged in green battledress,
hard-cropped head turned away,
unwitting, not dressed to impress,
despite glossed boots, badged beret.

Hard-cropped head turned away
exposing vulnerable neck,
despite glossed boots, badged beret,
braced shoulders – a flawed effect.

Exposing bare, vulnerable neck,
pulse rippling beneath soft skin,
braced shoulders, a flawed effect,
veiled gaze, attention within.

Pulse rippling beneath soft skin,
my son’s rifled brow, drilled with lines,
veiled gaze, attention within –
then blue eyes lift, smile into mine.

My son’s rifled brow, drilled with lines,
feet apart, straight back, still hands,
then blue eyes lift, smile into mine
and I see my boy in the eyes of the man.

About SallyJ

I am a writer and a poet.
This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Deployed - a collection of poems, Dversepoetry, Family, Life writing, military, online writing, poet, poetry, war, writer, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to An old poem for a new task on dVerse

  1. ManicDdaily says:

    This is a lovely poem. (I appreciate the challenges of real life that can make it hard to fit into rather arbitrary blogging deadlines.) The repetition of your lines here gives a drill like aspect to it, and the surprise of the blue eyes – your son’s face in the uniform man, who is suddenly a person not a uniform and posture. Well done. k.

  2. claudia says:

    wow..this is intense..the soldier suddenly no longer some stranger but your son…a well known face…stands for me for recognizing they are not men without faces but individuals, sons and fathers and husbands…very good write…interesting form as well…

  3. brian miller says:

    awww…i like the reveal that it is your son…and the contrast in the pulse on the vulnerable neck with the typically hard military look does really well….i def like the repetition as well because it allows this to build…very well done sally…

  4. SallyJ says:

    thanks Claudia – the form is a pantoum…I particularly enjoy the repetition of his form.

  5. Grace says:

    Nice revelation at the end ~ I like the poetry form too ~

  6. Elliot says:

    great use of repetition

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