Did you feel like the hero,
as perceived by the press?
Were you proud of your uniform,
as you marched through the city?
Were you a protector, a warrior,
proud to be at your country’s defence?
Were you brave and fearless and strong?
Not when I saw the bodies piled high,
for the sake of race or religion.
Not when we uncovered,
the mass burial sites,
of mutilated women and children.
Not when I saw,
the cities in ruin,
and the towns burnt down to the ground.
Not when I saw the civilian dead,
blown up by a bomb meant for us.
Not when my friends,
lost most of their limbs,
from an improvised explosive device.
Not when my buddy,
took a round to the head,
and I witnessed the life leave his eyes.
Not when I was followed,
all the way home,
by the ghosts of the injured and dead.
Not when I hide,
away in the house,
because I’m frightened
of what’s waiting outside.
Not when I’m afraid,
to fall asleep,
because they are there
in my nightmares as well.
Not when the memories
and flashbacks and dreams,
turn my home,
into a prison cell.
Not when I frighten,
my wife or my kids,
because I’ve got no one to tell,
about the bombs or the bodies,
the death or the war,
that turned my life,
into a living hell.