Poetry By Chuck



Heroes are born when bullets fly,
When the earth explodes,
When cannons roar,
When trumpets fade.

"Martyrs" are born when hate exists,
Life and liberty to all denied,
When freedom is thrust aside,
When horror is applied.

Shell-shocked survivors all agree.
We're experienced defending the free.
Twas necessary all horribly see,
A flag that flies overseas.

The Dogs of War have been unleashed.
A desperate will to survive,
Bloody battles of duck and hide,
Along crumbled streets.

Strategies, plots and plans,
Both sides gather in darkened dens.
Computers with mice representing men,
And fading memories.

Arrogance and ineptitude,
Order of the day,
Disgusted commanders,
Kept at bay.

When two men meet in combat,
Neither knows the other.
Metal doesn't care,
One target or another.

Irrational envy of the wounded,
Bearing the red badge of courage.
Untested youth facing fears,
Stronger then the enemy.

Memorable portraits of men at war.
In front of the cameras, audiences roar.
Politicians battle with words.
Soldiers actions are superb.

This is an American story,
Of a foreign war.
Of unnatural causes,
And rational decisions.

One man's search for freedom,
Another's search for fame.
Engage in wordy battle,
Soldiers are defamed.

Courageous soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines,
Fight valiantly on the wrong side of the bridge.
Heart-rending losses, causalities,
On heartbreak ridge.

A quicker end to the war,
With fewer lives lost,
Unlikely to happen...
Freedoms cost.


Author notes

I collect DVD and Video on war.  I have quite a collection.  In attempting to define the many faces of war, I took the cases and used verbage from them to compose this poem.  I'm sure it will not please everyone, nor will it present but a snapshot.  It reflects all wars not just the one we are in.  

Take it like a man.

Written August 22nd, 2004


  • One Poetic Heart gold member
    September 29, 2005
    This Chuck is by far!! the best I have seen besides the one I commented on earlier,My uncle served 25 years in the military and retired had plans for relaxing fishing what have you.. 2 months after he got out my aunt passed and then 4 months approx.. he passed, he never regretted a day,I thank god he got out safe,and as you know How i feel it is a wonderfulcareer if you can survive the war zone!!well any ways great write Linda

  • Chuck Johnson silver member
    September 2, 2004 
    Governments always act as God. Seems to be the nature of the beast. Men in power forget the humanity of the masses..the individuality. But, with that said... I don't and didn't serve the men in power. I din't shoot for them or their ideas or values. I served the idea of freedom and the opportunity to contribute to others freedom. Yes, its a mess...all of them are messes. Yes, there are politics...they are all political. Yes they take advantage, take opportunities, take control, and even take your life by stupidity. All of those are a part of war and its beginning in the upholstered chairs to its ending in trenches and long food lines.

    I don't glory war, I realize it. It is never right. Never positive. Never. It is only war.

    When two men meet in combat, the one who wins, usually, is the one best trained, motivated, and lucky.

    All men fear combat. All men want it to end. All men want to return home. All. But, that never happens.

  • artis
    September 2, 2004
    In the gritty, sweat dripping, screaming howls, of a full frontal assault that represent encounters between two men, opposite each other by some leaders demands, no one cares why they are there or what it means in the long run, or how it will end. They are simply trying to save themselves and thier brothers-in-arms. Bullets are not led by political banners that enlighten ones soul, they are soft bits of metal spinning into flesh and bone and richocheting off of organs and muscle, like a tiny chainsaw severing life. Bayonets are not ways of cutting the level of disagreement between two countries, for they are quickly turned to slip between the third and fourth ribs to effectively miss any bone, and damage the heart muscle and lung tissue enough to incapacitate or cease forever the life of the enemy. And the wicked twist at the end, that cuts even more flesh as to make it irrepairable, is not because the man you are killing is from some dictators army, or because a draft dodger said they were terrorist, it is to prevent him from killing any more of the men you serve with, or yourself. War is about survival, most of the fighters are simple men with families and hopes and dreams, that have been interrupted by some foolish idea of a quick solution. they just want to get home, and kiss the wife and babies, or the girlfriend, and take up the plow, or the ruler, or the keyboard and resume a normal life. And so they kill, and kill well, but there is no glory in the act, if you take the L out of glory you are left with gory, the shredded remains of another human that you will carry in your soul forever, even if it was justified by war. Men like bush and cheney and rove, have never known this dilemma, he kills bills
    and wounds running mates by eliminating the gore with chads, and by bought and paid for swift boat lies against a true warrior. His partner in war, dick had other priorities during Vietnam, and carl Rove, was a deferred rich boy as well. In the heat of the battle, color no longer matters, patriotism is simply the ticket that stuck you in a life and death situation, and heroes are forced into the granduer,simply by the need to perserve thier own life, or the lives of their fellowman. It is a choice made when nothing else will work, with regret, tinged with courage, as one launches themselves over top a grenade to save the others who are fighting by them. good poem., I just needed to vent, against all those who glorify the death as duty, and patriotuc servitude, it is simply survival and a chance to get your ass home, the rest is for the glory hounds in D.C. with ther photo ops and thier claims to be solving a problem, by giving hundreds of men problems to solve by killing the cause and being killed in the process. ~~~~Artis
    Edited on Sep 02, 9:01 because ''.

  • MagicLady silver member
    August 30, 2004 

    This is a very good poem. My husband is a AirForce MstSGT with 19.5 years (but who is counting). We have traveled around the world and seen many things. He never had to be in a war. We are lucky. We gave up a lot being in the military. People don't understand that. Moving all the time, and being close to family, is the biggest thing. We are less than a year from retiring, so I am thankful.
    Thank you for this beautiful write and whoever is featuring it for you. I recently read some of the poems in your contest about war. I was so amazed by the winner....and his write about war. I have to believe it was from experience. I don't think someone can write like that, without knowing.

    Edited on Aug 30, 12:56 because ''.
  • Rambler
    August 30, 2004
    Well, like you said, you can't please everyone. I have much respect for those who protect the country. My father was in WWII and I have had friends who related to me the horrors of Viet Nam. Could I deal with it? I don't know. I have to say that, touching your last stanza, war is unlikely to cost fewer lives not because it's freedom's cost but because governments now act as God and commit the average man's life to pour his blood into the holes it digs to maintain its power.

  • Mark Rickerby gold member
    August 30, 2004

    The wisdom of a warrior-poet.

    Hi Chuck,

    Every stanza in this poem is loaded with imagery.

    This part got me good -

    The Dogs of War have been unleashed.
    A desperate will to survive,
    Bloody battles of duck and hide,
    Along crumbled streets.

    Exactly why I get so upset when someone accuses America and the allies of being indiscriminate in the accidental killing of civilians. It's a slap in the face to the soldiers you describe here, ducking and hiding through crumbled streets.

    And the basic cost of war, as I tried to capture at the end of "Fractured" and you do so eloquently here -

    When two men meet in combat,
    Neither knows the other.
    Metal doesn't care,
    One target or another.

    "Metal doesn't care." Perfect. Reminded me of the old Civil War song - "A cannonball don't pay no mind."

    A quicker end to the war,
    With fewer lives lost,
    Unlikely to happen...
    Freedoms cost.

    Though, as you know, I'm a little conflicted about the details of this war, I agree that freedom is never free with tyrants and thugs running countries and refusing to conduct themselves like educated gentlemen. The people who sit around singing "Give Peace a Chance", oblivious to the true nature of evil, people who condemn the war but offer no other solutions of how to deal with bloodthirsty terrorists, can put down Bush all they want, but they won't see him standing on a balcony at the White House waving a sabre around or shooting a rifle into the air. They can put down the soldiers for the Abu-Ghraib abuses and ignore the fact that that prison was Camp Snoopy under our soldiers care compared to what went on in there when Hussein was running the place. It was wrong of our soldiers to do that, yadda yadda, but it's also easy to condemn hostile actions toward the enemy from the high cushions of air-conditioned living rooms when one hasn't seen friends bleed to death in front of them days or moments before. As they say, "Payback is a MF."

    I'm going to stop before I go on a rant. On the literary side, I felt that a few lines were disproportionately long. However, the power of the message and imagery made such minor technical issues irrelevant. It was also very balanced in that it explained the horrible necessity of war without glorifying it.

    Thanks for this. Most of all, thank you for your 21 years of service, and my freedom.

    Edited on Aug 30, 12:46 because ''.
  • JustAnotherPunk
    August 30, 2004 
    wow, this was very moving. My grandfather faught in the wars. War is a hard thing. He was in the Navy and is lucky to be alive today. His ship sank and he just happened to miss it. Everyone died on the ship. If he were on it he would've died to. It's a horrible thing. Well anyways, this poem was amazing. Great work and thanks for sharing.

  • pongo
    August 30, 2004
    Nightmares.....I have a few.
    I have done my job, and lost many friends.
    Good write.

  • Chuck Johnson silver member
    August 28, 2004
    Ty Tears. I served 21 years and I can tell you that if it were not for the disparity of value...the difference between what a civilian is paid and what the same job in the military pays...you could find no better job. Jobs aside... the value of serving far outweighs the value of the almighty buck. I hope you find your dreams come true and that they are never nightmares for you.
  • SparklingOutcast
    August 28, 2004
    i am the grand daughter of two army men, i am the daughter of a woman who tried to make the government accept HER Draft card...i hate war, but i think i understand it somewhat....i am going to apply to the Naval Academy when i graduate, only because i have no right to protest wars, or the armed services, if imyself have never served in them...i love this poem, it was wonderfully written, i loved how it was written, i loved the imagery and the tone, and word choice...you have a great peice here

  • Circuitsboard
    August 27, 2004
    I admit, war, and the thought of war, brings out the soldier I was. It will ever be so.
    Unfortunately, war is not the solution that many think it to be. Yes, civilians suffer, but the worst sufferers are the men and women who are called to witness and perform the acts that war makes necessary.
    Good write.

  • Touchof1der Moderators member
    August 24, 2004
    You wrote a new piece and didn't tell me? I am so far behind on commenting again. Geez! Forgive me for being neglectful. I always find your writings such as this to be so emotional because I know a little about you now, your personal views and how you feel about such matters. This is really well written Chuck. Very touching!
    Edited on Aug 24, 11:13 because ''.

  • wishintreeUK
    August 23, 2004
    A powerful poem Chuck, War will always unearth negative and positive views.... you have put your point across very well... no one wants war! who would! however, tis a part of the world we live in these days, it surely isnt glorified, its just told as it is... my heart goes out to the parents, husbands, wives, sweethearts who have their loved ones in the forces... thank you for sharing this with us Chuck. ~Katie~

  • BattleOfBlood
    August 22, 2004


    Wow, another wonderful poem! I loved it, and i cant wait to read more by you! ^_^

  • Jaded Lily silver member
    August 22, 2004
    I am a daughter of an Air Force man. I am a mother of an Army boy. War is not pretty, but we must support those who defend us so courageously, whether we agree or not with how it plays out and the players involved. God Bless America and our troops. Most are just boys/girls in soldiers clothing.