Shell  Shock

Shell Shock

A Poem by Gee
"

No PTSD back then..

"
November 14th 1918

When dad still hadn't come home, mum told me he had gone away to get better, that he needed help, and not to worry because uncle Tommy,
dad's youngest brother, would help around the house.
Over the next month or so she cried often,
trying her best to hide it from me,
but I knew from seeing her red, rimmed eyes when she had been crying.
Gradually though this became less frequent,
eventually replaced by laughter,
this invariably whilst in the company of uncle Tommy,
who now seemed to be always at ours,
often staying over in the spare room.



April 30th 1920

At first I had asked many times daily as to when dad would come home,
but gradually, as the days turned to weeks,
weeks to months, I stopped asking.
Not because I didn't care or miss him, as this would always be so,
no, it was more a case of a growing realisation that he wouldnt be back,
which seemed odd really, as when he had left in 1914 to fight the hun over in France,
I knew he would back, just knew it....
Now however, he was never mentioned, not by me, mum, or his brother,
and I knew, deep down inside, I'd never see him again.



July 27th 1918

I remember hearing the front gate opening,
then pushing past mum and running to the front door,
screaming " dad, dad, " at the top of my lungs.
He smiled, dropped his battered old suitcase and scooped me up in his arms.
I buried my face in his neck, my tears staining the collar of his navy shirt.
He held me tight, so tight that I struggled to breathe, but I didnt care,
at that moment I wanted him to hold me forever,
to never let me go, to promise that he would never leave us again.
I heard mum tell him how much she loved and had missed him,
could hear the tears in her voice.
For the next hour we sat at the kitchen table, me on dad's knee
mum next to us, them drinking tea and talking
whilst I sipped a small cup of lemonade, a treat, whilst clinging to his side.

September 14th 1918

I lay in my bed, could hear them arguing.
Dad was drunk again, was telling mum she wouldn't understand,
could never understand, whilst she,
over and over told him to talk to her, let her try to umderstand.
I heard the front door slam.
That was the first night dad didn't come home.
I cuddled in with mum, her telling me everything would be okay,
to stop crying, that dad would be alright....

November 12th 1918

Charlie Whitburn, a near neighbour ( also 8 years old) came running to me in the playground,
he excitedly asked if I'd heard about the body found in manor woods.
They were saying, he told me, it was an escaped convict who had frozen to death in last night's frost,
although later it turned out to be a local man that had hanged himself.....


December 24th 1918

I saw mum kissing uncle Tommy.
I was sneaking downstairs to see if Santa had been,
what he had left, when I saw them,
on the couch, kissing and laughing.
Before they saw me I cept back to bed,
cried myself to sleep.
I miss dad so much.

December 25th 1918

Mum gave me a present, said it was from dad.
It wasn't his writing on the tag.
I hate Christmas..

















© 2018 Gee


Author's Note

Gee
Hope you can follow this..

My Review

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Reviews

I love war stories, but truth be told, this is never a war story. Not the high-spirited child in the beginning
tying to understand absence. Not the resolved child at the end who knows that even a strangers writing could not take the place of that same, throbbing absence . You can't hide s**t from children. They know, even when their too young to know.
I, for one, could care less about the time line since dates in poetry is when the reader reads it, not when the writer thought of it. Yet wasn't WW1 a time of great international confusion? Before the league of nations and before the nato alliance, no one knew who was an ally or why, only that US forces were reluctant to enter even when France and Great Brittan were getting their a*s kicked in Flanders.
It must of been just terrible to be a family back home when the war dead bodies were counted in the thousands and the tens of thousands . great poem.

I have to try one of these time line poems on just to see what happens...../dana

Posted 2 Years Ago


Gee

2 Years Ago

Thanks Dana.
1914- 1918 must have been the most brutal ear ever fought, death toll into the h.. read more
The dates threw me, but the message was clear. Seeing things through the eyes of a child enhances emotion and lends credibility to the story, as you have demonstrated so well. Those of us who endured broken and dysfunctional childhoods (like me) can feel the young narrator's anguish, pain and fear in our bones. An excellent write.

Posted 2 Years Ago


Gee

2 Years Ago

Thanks Sam. Will sort the date order if I can do without re typing.
this came up in the feed im glad it did i read it again with much intrest put it in my fav now thanks for such a write brilliance

Posted 2 Years Ago


Gee

2 Years Ago

Morning Julie, thank you.
Such a touching story that is personally, very easy to identify with. Its not only that, however it is the way this is composed that impresses me. The epitome of a good story poem. Lots to pick up on, lots to relale to and a fine job in bringing all together in such a poignant fashion.

Posted 2 Years Ago


Gee

2 Years Ago

Chuffed to bits you enjoyed Ken. Although nowhere near her standard have been inspired by the writin.. read more
Hey Gee, I must confess to being just a little bit stuck for words... I think you have done an incredible job of pulling together a credible and emotionally charged prose narrative account of what we now know to have happened more often than will ever be spoken about... There is absolutely nothing I dont like about 'Shell Shock' if you know what I mean... and I salute ya.... Oh' and for what it's worth, when I was in the RAF, I was taught never to salute anyone unless they were wearing their cap badge..... All Good Things, Neville

Posted 2 Years Ago


Gee

2 Years Ago

Cheers Neville, gobsmacked to receive a review such as this. Appreciated more than you will ever kno.. read more
Neville

2 Years Ago

Because ya worth it.... a really memorable write... N
Gee

2 Years Ago

Cheers......
I REALLY like this! Innovative, keeps the reader interested (I re-read it a few times!), characters not overly developed (too many of this genre over-do that aspect). Pardon the repitition, but I REALLY liked/enjoyed the piece!

Posted 2 Years Ago


Gee

2 Years Ago

Cheers Ted, glad you enjoyed
tedefroberts

2 Years Ago

Pleasure was mine! I love good writing!
Gee

2 Years Ago

Thank you...
Powerful. Exquisite. Avant garde. Exciting foreshadowing with uncle Tommy.
You had me on every line

Posted 2 Years Ago


Gee

2 Years Ago

Thank you, appreciate your review
Interesting experiment on prose/free verse story telling. I really like it ... you can use poetic licence to emphasize pauses and importance but edit it down to "almost" paragraphs. The time shift threw me a curve ball just a little ... expecting more of that I felt grateful it settled into a sequence ;) Time warps can be challenging for an old man :)))
I feel the emotions of your protagonist ... who better to express such loss and pain than a child .. the "Dear John" behavior of the mum and uncle put a sharp edge on his grief
our world has changed and is changing so much .. our "Great Wars" came and went with a very different pace than Viet Nam ... I am a baby boomer, my Da in WWII never spoke of it at all. most never did nor do... but they were welcomed home as heroes .. Viet Nam changed all that as our service men and women were pummeled with insult and rejection ... and slowly we started talking about it .. about the trauma, the spiritual devastation and turmoil of things undone by war ... i really appreciate your story telling style in this and the message ... relevant and so important .. well done says i!
E.

Posted 2 Years Ago


Gee

2 Years Ago

Great review E, thanks.
In the construction industry we are getting more and more ex servicem.. read more
Einstein Noodle

2 Years Ago

i am with you on that sir! 100%
This reads like a story familiar to millions, that have lived through the horrors of war, and those left back home, trying to hold it all together while everything was falling apart. Out of all that survived, I doubt there were few if any that were unscathed. What they came from and what they went back to. Forever changed by the madness of war.
I like the way its been set out, diary like. Like an actual account kept at the time.
PS... Clydebank, where I was from, only had seven houses left standing after the second world war, so Christ knows what they all did come back to.


Posted 2 Years Ago


Gee

2 Years Ago

Morning Lorry. My mum was from Liverpool and that too was bombed to buggery.
I should think t.. read more
Lorry

2 Years Ago

Very true. I am good. Just had a three hour bath, after being in the middle of a forest for 10 days... read more
That was how it was then. Hard to believe now isn't it? Also they were shot for desertion when they were suffering from shell shock. That's what you got fighting for your country. You gave your all and got next to nothing in return. I would imagine, this could have happened many times over. They were terrible times. You have written this well Gee. It leaves a lump in my throat.

Chris

Posted 2 Years Ago


Gee

2 Years Ago

Thank you Christine.A savage war with most roads leading to death.

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742 Views
17 Reviews
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Shelved in 3 Libraries
Added on September 1, 2018
Last Updated on September 23, 2018
Tags: Love, loss, war

Author

Gee
Gee

Milton keynes, United Kingdom



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Devoted family man and lover of life. Simple stuff for those without code breaking skills ! more..

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