The Man with a Tin Face

The Man with a Tin Face

A Poem by Smitty "Euro" Thompson

A man with a tin face comes home to his fiancee


The Man with a Tin Face

Based upon cases Sea AJ and Spreckley of Project Façade


Four years.  In the trenches a man becomes a mole

Who digs himself into the ground for shelter

To protect his tender head, huddling in a hole

While the shells come down upon battered earth.


They had said that in November it would end.

The guns would silence, let their barrels go cold,

And no more would a young man bury a friend

Whose body had been left, stripped and dun.


My dear God, mourn that poor soldier who died.

He who laid down his corpse in that foreign field

For some nation’s bloated and fettered pride,

Would decay in that spot of forever England


The Treaty did not save me from that bulletpath.

I put forth my body to halt the shot’s advance and

That last spearhead of our ended war’s own wrath

Went shattering into my weary, unshaven face


Suddenly, as I watched the shards of my own nose

And jaw go flying into the air, there was pain.

There was the sound of bone splintering, as those

Pieces of my body were ripped so harshly from it.


The sinews of my face, that no man were meant

To see now pulsated openly in the air.  I could not

See, the screaming pain was all I felt.  Torment

Thundered around mf and made the tears come.


They swam around and blotted out my sight

And for a moment that fire that burned at my

Wounds fell dull.  Though I tried with all my might,

I could not quench that creeping dark that came.


I awoke under light, burning cold steel at my neck.

White clad angels with red crosses at their arms

poked at my body with tools to heal the wreck

that my shattered visage had devolved to under fire.


I lived in the surgery room for hours.  Sewn and cut

Pieces of skin were grafted to try and hide the

Deformation.  I went from field to hospital but

It was just a transfer from one front to another.


The ward, would hence, become my stately home.

Days became like months, Months became like years.

The invalids, it seemed, could only roam

About the place to look for someone’s help.


There were hundreds of us that were caught here

And trapped against our will as we were forced

Strange remedies upon us.  There was fear

That gripped us all, though there was no more war.


There were those that shook something terribly

That their  poor legs would not hold them up straight.

Their arms would spasm as they tried to flee

Incoming ghosts of those bombardment fires.


Then there were those who had no arms or legs,

Those who had been cursed enough to trample

Into the blast.  The ones who grasped the dregs

Of a stump as it morphed into a claw.


And lastly there were those like me, whose face

Held no likeness to any beast of God’s

Make.  Light and shadows fell in waves to grace,

In wobbled lines, their scared and bulbous hides.


And There were those who wore the masks of tin.

They sat upon our face by spectacles

That held the iron mold over the sin

Of our blood making and war partaking.


That was months ago, seeming of another age.

Now I was slowly being shipped home upon the

Train of invalids.  The starting of another page

Of my life slowly opening up right before me.


A brand new page of my life with my fiancée.

She had told me that she would wait for me

Until the war was done.  But how could I say

That I was the same man that had said I love her?


I no longer looked the same and I did not act

The same either.  I had no cheek for her to stroke

That was of living flesh.  I had no jaw intact

To kiss her, just a mask of tin to cover my hurt.


What would she think?  Hell, what would she say?

Would she stare in shock or perhaps turn her back?

Would she take the hand I reached to wipe away

The tears that came up to her sapphire blue eyes?


Would she turn her back from me when we slept

Together at night?  My face from her nightmares,

Her shoulders will tense to douse the fear that crept

Up of the monster that had made its bed beside her.


With a heart full of fear I stepped off that train.

My bootsteps drowned out by the hiss of the steam

And the roar of the whistle.  The searing pain

trapped within the tightness of my chest burned.


She stood at the end of the platform, the sun

Formed a halo upon her head, its golden rays

Shamed by the gold of her hair.  Much like spun

Soft silk, it fell around her pale oval features.


It felt like years before I finally came to her.

“Virginia?” I called quietly, almost afraid that

She might hear.  There was nothing to deter

Her when she saw, her arms came around my neck.


My body almost melted in that warm embrace.

The tightness across my chest growing but that

Was nothing compared to the joy in her face

Upon having me close to her.  There was no fear.


She did not even turn away when I bent to kiss

Her pink lips with nothing bur the metal jaw.

She pulled tighter to me, a look of utter bliss

On her face as she spoke my name, “Andre…”


“I’ve missed you so much,” she said the tears

Of joy swimming upon her eyes as she reached

To stroke my cheeks.  The pull of my fears

Slowly started to ebb away upon her gentle touch.


“I love you.”



© 2011 Smitty "Euro" Thompson

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Gripping story told in a poem I could turn this into a sundance film.The poem being slowly read by the tin man as the visions of war beaten soldiers stream across the screen.Many men have endured the pulveration of war on all sides.You don't have to be a certain race or nationality to feel this poem

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2 Reviews
Added on April 29, 2011
Last Updated on April 29, 2011


Smitty "Euro" Thompson
Smitty "Euro" Thompson

Gettysburg, PA

Hallo, my name is Smitty Thompson. I am a 20 year old History Major with a German and Creative Writing minor at Gettysburg College, PA. My main interest is German history mainly from formation to th.. more..