no flowers in the rice paddies

no flowers in the rice paddies

A Poem by jacob erin-cilberto

no flowers in the rice paddies


stepping over poppies,
and bodies in my mind
disenchantment, what did they achieve
vindictive notions,
hateful shouts
heard over the propellers 
as they come home

flying screams of hate
dressed in wartime apparel 
this is no greeting

soldiers deserve better
they fight someone else's engagement
they just bring the rings
and the guns
to the ceremony

the Church of disproportion
is not theirs
the pews are filled with the enlisted
outside the shouts are heard

stepping over poppies
and bodies in my mind

i wish they had been there
i would have greeted their plane
with chads of peace
voted best soldiers
as they come home

where obliged hearts 

                                                should be waiting
in gracious quarantine.


erin-cilberto
5/25/2020

© 2020 jacob erin-cilberto


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Reviews

It took me a while of reading this poem before I realized that it was about PTSD in soldiers. This is truly an excellent write.

Posted 1 Month Ago


jacob erin-cilberto

1 Month Ago

thank you so much, Allie...
j.
Allie Brumfield

1 Month Ago

You're welcome Jacob :)
A different war now being fought. Soldiers returning from Vietnam were met by hostility. How awful to fight for your country and be on the receiving end of that on your return. I don't know enough about the history to fully understand the reasons. Maybe explain please?

Today though, our frontline soldiers, our key workers in covid are certainly far more respected. They deserve the right tools. Access to mental health care, ppe and a pay rise wouldn't go amiss. We owe them big time. Huge sacrifices are being made. There is going to be a memorial statue for our health and social care workers who have lost their battle with Covid.

Chris

Posted 1 Month Ago


jacob erin-cilberto

1 Month Ago

yes, today's front line far more respected...the protests against the Vietnam War in this country we.. read more
Christine Anne Shaw

1 Month Ago

Thank you Jacob.
I salute the frontliners- soldiers, police, doctors and nurses, who sacrifice for our welfare . This is a different war now. I pray for the safety of these people.

Posted 1 Month Ago


jacob erin-cilberto

1 Month Ago

thank you, Dhaye...yes, I was also thinking of the current situation...no poppies and not enough hel.. read more
I am reminded of Milton's quote "they also serve who only stand and wait" attributed to Churchill by most.
Although there is a definite sense of Vietnam in this piece due to the rice paddy reference, it could cover the Korean War and the fighting in the Pacific in WW2.
For us of a certain age The Vietnam War was very much a part of our consciousness. Whether we were in the jungles or the classroom, the war was always present ... being fought in the streets and on college campuses.
Remembering the fallen is important ... probably why this virus has been labelled the silent enemy with which we are at war.
Maybe someday there will be memorials outside every long-term care home for all those who were sacrificed to politics.

A good write j.

Posted 1 Month Ago


jacob erin-cilberto

1 Month Ago

yes, we remember...thank you for your words, Ted,
j.
While some of your details do evoke the Vietnam War, I also feel this sense of the universal ingratitude of the populace and (even worse) government at the sacrifices that soldiers make. My father and several other male relatives of mine were forced to take part in the fighting of Vietnam and I can say unequivocally that their lives were forever changed. It is a strange thing because that time has defined the remainder of their lives often enough and there’s this strange mix of nostalgia and grief that permeates the memories.

Even still today we haven’t learned to honor the sacrifices of others in truly meaningful ways. Veterans and their families must often fight for the benefits they are promised and many never recover from the traumas of war—but find little help from the governments who recruited them.

At the weekend, we had fireworks for hours each night in the surrounding area to mark the Memorial Day holiday. Yet my son brought to my attention that the fireworks packages contain warnings about shooting them off if there are veterans living nearby. Of course, this little respect is disregarded and the barrage of colorful explosions continue for days.

Your poem is beautiful and mournful. The repetition of those first two lines is so effective. And this soft and thoughtful tribute is much closer to the honor these men and women deserve than those explosives and bbqs that often only serve as markers of our own selfish need for celebration. Where is the somber and respectful remembrance. Excellent work, Jacob.

Posted 1 Month Ago


jacob erin-cilberto

1 Month Ago

thank you for your kind and understanding words, Eilis...I had friends who came back from Nam differ.. read more
I just love this one, dear J! My Father is a history professor and he particularly enjoys military history of all kinds and he has a fascination for the Vietnam War. I have spent many hours listening to his theories on it, so this one really resonates with me. It was just a shockingly brutal engagement where the madness of the war just followed these veterans home. It must have been awful to have given every skerrick of your guts and soul in those jungles and paddy fields only to survive it all, return home and be subjected to more brutality of a different kind. As your poem states, they deserved better from an ungrateful homeland. It's a wonderful poem, dear J! 60 reads and 4 reviews?? What is the matter with these people? More of the same ingratitude, i feel. A fabulous effort, here! Very much enjoyed!

Posted 1 Month Ago


jacob erin-cilberto

1 Month Ago

thank you for your kind words, Jamila....
yes, such a bad war...we were protesting the war it.. read more
this is a heart felt write, I could feel your emotions through out.

Posted 1 Month Ago


jacob erin-cilberto

1 Month Ago

thank you, Kay-T...
j.
sad emotions in this poem.
if presidents of countries nowadays were expected to go to war themselves & be present at the front line like during medieval days, they would find a way to negotiate a settlement of whatever the dispute is.

i'm sure they would value their own life more than the lip service they give about their soldiers lives, who once they are back in their homeland get very little help once they are discharged.
cheerio carola

Posted 1 Month Ago


jacob erin-cilberto

1 Month Ago

wow, i totally agree, Carola...they just give lip service, except those who have actually served.read more
Their mission was noble. They went to war for their country and the values they stood for. Friendly fires happen and things go awry in tricky, unfamiliar terrain. Those poppy fields were not stained with just native blood. The least they deserved was a warm welcome home on their return from the battlefield. It’s always sad when a returning soldier is denied his appreciation.

Posted 1 Month Ago


jacob erin-cilberto

1 Month Ago

yes, Peston, at the least, they deserved that...thank you for your understanding words...
j.
Pestonjee

1 Month Ago

You’re welcome sir!

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Added on May 25, 2020
Last Updated on May 25, 2020

Author

jacob erin-cilberto
jacob erin-cilberto

Carbondale, IL



About
Originally from Bronx, NY, I live in Carbondale, Illinois...teach English at two community colleges and have been writing and publishing poetry since 1970. Friending works two ways. If we have had .. more..

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