Shell Shock

Shell Shock

A Poem by R.E. Ray

Shell Shock

 

Cumbrous as jacketed lead

the gray mist seems gun smoke

a monstrous muzzle leveled at me.

On this dawning beach, I cannot

 

go barechested or barefooted.

My skin is a plucked fowl in this gale.

The reeking, fractured shells shock

my feet, like a lightning bolt

 

of death. 

I tread lightly, then not at all

not beyond where the pink froth coagulates

then dissolves.

 

I am reminded how rapidly the maggots

consumed the calico’s head

stole its identity.

Your face is beyond my vision

 

nowhere on the August horizon

where clouds rim the mushroomed copper.

Deformity rushes in, crashes ashore

a blitzkrieg of silenced ripples, and seeps

 

into my cowhide boots, the not-so tight

seam between the sole and upper.

I will carry this ocean’s flesh and tears

all day, bits of bones none will notice

 

because you, we all, stare into mirrors.

We are lost in our small orbs

the slit-whites, browns, greens, the blues

until we trek in the tide with others

 

or their ghosts

glimpse their tracks, the subtle cracks

on their porcelain cheeks

where the last bullet traveled

and the bubbled, yellow glue turned amber.

 

I tread lightly, then not at all

never beyond where the angst coagulates

then dissolves:

a pool of absence.

 



© 2020 R.E. Ray


Author's Note

R.E. Ray
Image taken from https://www.historynet.com/man-on-a-mission-the-courageous-general-who-led-the-way-to-d-days-first-successful-assault.htm

My Review

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Featured Review

More stunning writing, taking originality to the hilt. Many write about war but I've never seen it written about like this. Usually I can't stand reading about war, no matter how well-written, so my shoulders were up around my ears as I started this. Amazingly, I found myself relaxing into the lyrical journey more than being immersed in the horrors of actual war, despite your painting a vivid picture. But this is more about how one feels being in the midst of war, not so much painting vivid horrors in high drama. I can only imagine how it might feel . . . very possibly a lot like this (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 2 Days Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

R.E. Ray

2 Days Ago

Margie, I'm pleasantly surprised to read your review. I know you usually don't read poems like this.. read more
barleygirl

2 Days Ago

You are definitely an empath, to a high degree!



Reviews

A very vivid picture (painting) of a war scene; you really know how to use your amazing words....blitzkrieg, maggots, monstrous muzzle, bits of bones, porcelain cheeks...all of it to describe this incredible scene;
even though it's war, it flows like a journey...each person is in their own world, or following ghosts...
Great write!

Posted 6 Hours Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

R.E. Ray

1 Hour Ago

Thanks very much, Betty. Your kind words are sincerely appreciated.
Devastating portrayal.
Unique and unsettling imagery.
Your talent for, quickly, "taking us, there," almost bewilders.
While honoring patriotism, courage--steadfastness--on the battlefield, I can't imagine anything
more antiwar than this.
Amazing work, R!

Posted 12 Hours Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

R.E. Ray

8 Hours Ago

Thank you, Jimmy.
I love how vividly you describe the human nature in war. Describing the eyes was a beautiful touch

Posted 22 Hours Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

R.E. Ray

14 Hours Ago

Thanks very much. I appreciate your kind words.
The title is appropriate because that's how i feel when i read this. It opens like Saving Private Ryan. Thunderous imagery splashing. Impossible not to shed a tear. Ghosts haunting crimson beaches. Stunning and moving.

Semper Fi

Posted 22 Hours Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

R.E. Ray

14 Hours Ago

Thank you. I appreciate your visit and review.
Though the speaker appears to be walking on a deserted beach, war metaphors abound in this splendid offering. The first three lines mention jacketed lead, a muzzle and gun smoke, and more follow in the succeeding verses. I believe the accompanying photo may be one of General Norman Cota of the 29th Division, whose courageous example got his stalled troops moving off of Omaha Beach on D-Day. Despite the military imagery, I think the speaker is dealing with an inner conflict, trying to resolve the destruction of physical life with spirituality. In verse 6 there is a brilliant image involving cowboy boots, where the blitzkrieg of the waves seeps in "between the soul and the upper," a splendid symbol of the apparent separation of man and God. The next verse reinforces this image with its reference to each of us in our own small orbs. The poem does not offer any solutions to this ancient problem, only shows where we are at present. But it does so brilliantly. If you have not had this one published, you really should try to do so.

Posted 23 Hours Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

R.E. Ray

23 Hours Ago

You've read this poem so well. It's as if I'd given you my notes. Thanks so much for digging in to.. read more
in my lifetime, living in Canada, the Military was only an option
Both my father and grandfathers were enlisted
I have never known whether to feel guilty or relieved that I consciously stayed away from the forces
Probably never will
Quite an impressive write

Posted 1 Day Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

R.E. Ray

1 Day Ago

Thanks for the review, Dave. Both of my grandfathers served in World War II. I didn't serve in the.. read more
dear Robert... I think of my uncles who were Shell shocked...
Nothing ever prepares you for the aftermath of Ghostly
sounds and raptured rendezvous. It is a picture embedded forever...
and we wonder why our leaders cannot imagine the consequences.
We are in debt to those who gave so much... so future generations
can experience freedom. We cross our hearts and think of you.
truly, Pat

Posted 1 Day Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

R.E. Ray

1 Day Ago

Hi, Pat. Thank you for your warm words and thoughts. It's always a joy to read your comments here.
More stunning writing, taking originality to the hilt. Many write about war but I've never seen it written about like this. Usually I can't stand reading about war, no matter how well-written, so my shoulders were up around my ears as I started this. Amazingly, I found myself relaxing into the lyrical journey more than being immersed in the horrors of actual war, despite your painting a vivid picture. But this is more about how one feels being in the midst of war, not so much painting vivid horrors in high drama. I can only imagine how it might feel . . . very possibly a lot like this (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 2 Days Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

R.E. Ray

2 Days Ago

Margie, I'm pleasantly surprised to read your review. I know you usually don't read poems like this.. read more
barleygirl

2 Days Ago

You are definitely an empath, to a high degree!

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195 Views
8 Reviews
Rating
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on August 2, 2020
Last Updated on August 2, 2020
Tags: shell shock, PTSD, combat, war, crime, trauma, death, history, memories, weapons, ocean, water, sea shells, nature, poetry, poem, free verse, RERay


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