We remember service men who died at war
but what of their mates freaked to the core
From sights, sounds and smells
Far greater than hells?

We train them to kill
And by giving them this skill
We tear out their soul and send them insane
No idea that this causes eternal pain!

Their partners and offspring
Always live on the edge
Not sure of their anger about to blow
Scared should they come or should they go?

At reunions they drink to oblivion
Only recalling good times they had
Forever avoid talk of killing
Trying to forget they are immortally SAD!

In group therapy they share
First and worst kill whilst they were there
Brains splattered on boots
Family photos personalised ‘gooks’.

Recurring visions of whole villages staked out
VC started with babies, the young, then the stout
Elders left last to watch and cry
Slow screaming torture as kin pray to die!

Sailors who dragged up and down the coast
Firing bombs of phosphorous at most
Knowing they’d killed many families
Whilst both sides slept in their bunks

Transporting young soldiers over to war
Knowing that far less would return home to shore
How do they live knowing all this
Seething with anger and sealed with a kiss …

Pilots dropped bombs but don’t see a face
Their flight schedules set at a pace
Scarce time to reflect and understand
The great slaughter they’ve done first hand

Returning home they don’t sleep at night
Tossing and turning, wanting to fight
Wholesale killing leaves deep scars
These smart young men often die in fast cars

Somalia, Rwanda and Kosovo
Peacekeeping forces had to go
Men trained to kill
Never got to test this skill

Nineteen year olds saw hundreds slaughtered
Young women and children ran to them screaming
Unable by law to fire a bullet!
Heroine and poly drugs seem suitable escape

What hope have these fit, handsome young men?
No partner will ever understand them!
Totally alienated from our trite society
Yet we continue to train them in great variety?

No one but gun-runners benefit from war
So why do we send young ones from our shore?
Too many civilians raped, killed or maimed
But we general citizens continue to shirk blame …

Thanks for sharing, you are all heroes!  ccc 18.5.2005

April 25th is ANZAC Day, this poem comes from years of work with returned service men and from being a descendant of cannon fodder.

25.4.17 two news articles on the impact of war on our defence personnel – an Afghan Vet at 27yo – and how society shunned our traditional landowners war service – shame!

Feature photo is how they displayed my poem in the regional art gallery for four months.

CQ 10 – How has war impacted on your family and life?



  1. On the one hand, that’s a tough one; on the other, hey, no one forced these “young men” to sign up to go kill for the Queen or Uncle Sam or Corporation Inc. or the Banksters. This is a choice, unlike other generations who were drafted and had to go, or go to prison as conscientious objectors. Surely humanity is “old enough” and mature enough by now not to make heroes out of people who sign up to go murder unarmed others, wherever, because the elites demand it. When is the species going to wake up and act its age, for nature’s sake! I neither feel, nor share, any pity for anyone who signed up and got back exactly what they signed up for. “You want to see Murder Inc. as a job, so be it, but don’t whinge when those others get pissed and return some of the fire, especially when they’re on their own soil and you’re the invader.” My father fought the Nazis in the Resistance on French soil. That was war. That was in invasion that had to be repelled. And it was my dad who taught me how hateful; how much of a sell-out the military is: a front for the elites, always, and a killer of innocents, always.


  2. These are the deep scars of those who served and suffer the consequences, scars that can only be healed by facing the reality, more effective in a group, and by helping others! To enable meaning in life …

    Political decisions to enter conflicts are highly questionable!
    Am appalled by the incorrect sensational media reporting!
    My heart bleeds for the harm caused to so many – locals, defence personal, their families – for no realistic reason!

    Nobody wins any war, WAR is only about massive profits from weapon sales!
    We individuals need to create peace by calming ourselves and refusing to engage in any conflict – violence in any form is wrong, it harms our individual and national psyche.

    The excuses are shallow, please please say NO to war!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for this poem, a reminder to remembrance.

    Both my father and uncle served in the Angolan war. My father was lucky, being stationed on the Caprivi he didn’t see much action, also mostly due to a spontaneous double lung collapse ( enter the family genetics there … yet try to convince him ).

    My uncle, unfortunately, was less lucky. He served in the police force during the conflict and they were called in to serve along side the regular military. You don’t has him about it and when you do, all he says is “We don’t talk about Angola” and his gaze becomes foreign and fear inducing. During his tour, they were sweeping an area and the sergeant behind him stepped on a landmine. My uncle took shrapnel to the back which plagued him most his life, and now, he is facing complete spinal fusion in the affected area at some point this year.

    My ex brother in law, though not having served in military action, was part of the “Flying Squad”. A specialist task force in the Police, trained to apprehend the most dangerous of criminals. His squad was filmed by a BBC news crew during the apprehension of hi-jacker’s. They only did what they were trained and told to do and for that they were dismissed in disgrace so that the Police force and the President could save face. They were hung out to dry, with now income, pension or aid for their cracked and broken minds.
    This was not a matter of crying police brutality, this was not a routine public arrest … this was lethal and brutal criminals whom, during the persuet, shot a pregnant lady in the stomach and one of the officers squarely in the trauma plate of his vest … meaning it was intended as a kill shot. There is no second chances for them when dealing with criminals. Most of the time, it is subdue or be the next victim. They do the dirty work … and the government wash their hands in innocence when their tactics came to light.

    No war is either clean or ‘humane’, no matter if it’s a border dispute, military action in aid of another nation or serving and protecting the public. Human rights may be in the best interest of the humanity, but unfortunately, it serves the criminals all too well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are so right with all you say! These units/squads take the blame when their seniors make unskilful decisions. They joined with ultruistic motivations yet their training and experiences give them physical and mental scars that most will never understand … and we the family members have to live with that also.
      Any war has ripple affects for so many!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Would really appreciate you putting a link to your post about army? As a wife of a current serving member your point of view would be quite different to mine, so good to include all aspects, thanks.


  4. Hi Kate
    Your poem WOE has drawn some interesting comments. I haven’t had any of my family go to war, not one person I know has a war story to tell. I had 2 nieces in the navy but they have since left and were never deployed. All I do know is I find myself feeling troubled whenever I read about the men and women who are currently serving and deployed. I hate that we still have these little boys with toys ( unfortunately very dangerous and destructive toys) who continue to play war games. I see it as a male issue, wars are created by males, men rule this bloody world and it really annoys me. I know you have seen the aftermath of war victims, your poem says it all, it would have touched you more profoundly than most of us, some who probably don’t even give it all a second thought. But until we just have people say NO to WAR, which is none of the world’s Leaders, they are building, buying, testing, bigger and better toys everyday. We are piss ants in the fray, our young men and women who sign up for Army, Navy services, are signing up to possibly be sent to a real war. They advertise it as jobs in the Army, jobs in the Navy and yes they get paid, but I believe we are heading for a bigger nastier war and those jobs are death warrants. Who should be heroes!! Our leaders all have bunkers where they will run and hide from the war while the young men and women, someones son, daughter, sister, brother, grandchild fight their wars for them. They are gutless men hiding in their billion dollar safety bunkers, wasting billions of taxpayers money, they spend half their lives focused on military and war toys. So very annoying!!!!!!!
    WOE is a brilliant poem Kate, but all of it makes me anxious and sad.
    You would have helped so many people in your work
    It must have been heart wrenching, your poem clarifies this.
    Hugs kate from
    Annie just down the road 🌞🌴🌊
    Oh dear I just read this and clearly I am not calmAnnie, but I can understand how you have had to be calmKate many many times in your life. You really have done some good in this world mate.

    Liked by 2 people

            1. Thought I had written below that I can from a long line of cannon fodder – father, grandfather, uncles and great uncles? None died out right they all came back with far deeper wounds so after my father died I chose to work with vets for years just to understand them better. They are actual people’s stories in that poem, not that their families could even pick them because sharing is too hard.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Ah yes – I should have known that – you go by the sobriquet calmkate, so how could you be otherwise. 🙂 I like your blog – permission to come back for more at some unspecified date in the future, Kate.
                Kindness – Robert.

                Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes my father, grandfather, etc refused to join the RSL or mention war, they felt that it should not be glorified in any way. When my brother missed the marble draw for Vietnam my father threatened him with his life if he enlisted … could say they didn’t agree with any form of war! The true protestors for peace … but still we fight?!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My uncles and other elders were of the same opinion. Yes – we still fight, fighting the fight so to speak. The trauma of killing so kills the killer too I’ve noticed.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes got another poem called trauma triggers. Nursed my father in his last six weeks but he suffered repercussions his whole life, ‘war damaged’. So then I worked with Vets for years just to learn more about their trauma … that poem is true stories as related to me.

          Liked by 1 person

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