The Mountain

The Rock Pile - Vietnam

The Rock Pile - Vietnam

Before me stands the mountain
Immense in its unbiased demand
That it will not be ignored

A violet by a mossy stone,
The rock I hid behind in the first skirmishes
Was a pale shade of that which was to come

It is an icon of headlong promises
Some made in the shadows of truth
While in a jaded light, others lie

I cannot take my time
Its force compels my movement
Yet I wait in silent vexation to approach

In the magic of a dancing wind
Fluttering leaves paint a serene scene
And I let my eyes drink a sky of stars

But in the bullet riddled heat of reality
There’s no time to engage thoughts of yesterday
This day, is the only day in existence

I did not elect this course of action
I just seek the balance between truths and lies
As I fight for another change of day

I am battered and bloodied
In more than just this weary shell of a body
Praying for just one more day and a wake-up

Pale eyes hang on blue faces
Some in envy, as others give thanks
The war for them is not over, but I am done

Behind me stands the mountain
My crossing complete, but in a perfect world
I’d have never had to cross it in the first place

Dog Tags

History.Net - Dog Tags found in South East Asia


dVerse Poet Pub | Poetics – Duty Calls

24 thoughts on “The Mountain

  1. smiles…the mountain makes for a great metaphor….of most any obstacle…great use of language in this…i drink a sky of starts….the bullet riddled heat of reality…both really cool lines…the balance of truth and lies…true…and that perfect world i dunno that it exists, but i think we can get a lot closer…smiles.

  2. You are a fantastic writer! These lines are especially gorgeous:

    “Immense in its unbiased demand”
    “I wait in silent vexation to approach”
    “In the magic of a dancing wind”
    “Pale eyes hang on blue faces”

    The ending is chilling:
    “but in a perfect world
    I’d have never had to cross it in the first place”

  3. Really lovely poem. So sad. I was surprised that not more people have written about soldiers. And this particularly war and especially hard one where duty alone seemed to be what was finally motivating. “Praying for one more day and a wake-up” I found very moving – the casualness of “wake-up.” Have you ever read Tim O’Brian? You might like him- “What they carried.” “Going After Cacciato.” Anyway, thanks much. K.

  4. Exceptional piece. Definitely felt a tinge of sadness as a read through. Perhaps it’s me though. I will have to read again. I love the mountain as a symbol, and to bookend the piece with it’s image is really nice. and love the never having to in a perfect world idea, so, so true. Great read. Thanks

  5. i like how you set up the scene here..the magic of a dancing wind,
    Fluttering leaves, the trying to seek balance, the struggle…all so real and felt…

  6. The mountain as obstacle, as entrance. Your memory of the war fought, bringing into life such sad undertaking yet setting us, your readers, into a wind that might us tonworlds beyond. This is a wonderful poem about reality transitioning to other worlds, beyongpd those lies, whether they be the ones we tell ourselves or those told to us. Excellent work, beautifully told.

    • I thank you, Chaz, but it is hardly from direct memory. If I’ve managed to successfully convey their struggles, it is but a shadow of the imprint of was instilled in me via the heartfelt stories I’ve read or were personally told.

  7. …My crossing complete, but in a perfect world
    I’d have never had to cross it in the first place

    Absolutely. A great statement about a war (or “police action”) on which not one American life should have been spent.

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