Thurman P. Woodfork

THE EYES

Thurman P. Woodfork: The Eyes

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: January 22, 2004
Awarded: January 22, 2004
The stony eyes of a young ‘Nam grunt
Have the gaze of a man too long in the hunt.
Aged eyes unblinking in that still young face
Looking straight at you with never a trace

Of emotion or laughter, apparently unfeeling;
Eyes of a soul that’ll be a long time healing
From all the things that he’s seen and done…
The many places fought over and won…

Then abandoned only to be fought for again…
So what if the cost was a few of his friends?
Or was it just about an entire platoon
That bled and died in that damned monsoon?

The weary days merged into soggy nights
Punctuated by murderous firefights,
And all the while his eyes slowly aged
As deep inside grew a smoldering rage

That might not erupt for years and years
Or perhaps only turn into bitter tears
That try to wash away the aching thoughts –
Piercing memories of harsh battles fought –

Memories drowsing deep within his brain
Waiting to be roused by the sound of rain:
Did the years ever soften those frigid eyes?
Or did they turn inward toward the cries

Of brothers who fell while mourning skies wept
And death came quietly or noisily leapt
Through the chaos and fury to bear away
His fallen comrades from the bloody fray?

I hope one day those jaded eyes close
In dreamless sleep and peaceful repose.
May the vivid memories slowly fade and dim
And allow those eyes to smile once again.

Inspired by the poem, “Dodge City of the Old East” – ©Copyright May 16, 2002 by Faye Sizemore