It's a somber note we strike for today's poetry challenge.

My mind is full of swaying poppies, and crosses, and flag-draped coffins on their way back home.

I cannot imagine the life of a soldier: either in the trenches, or what it must be like to leave a war ravaged world, and return back to the one you fought so hard to ensure would be free.   And to still feel so embattled.

But the challenge today asks exactly that of me.

Today’s prompt comes from Rob Halpin.

Here’s Rob’s prompt: Write a veteran poem, but instead of just a poem on what Veteran’s Day is about or thanking veterans, write from the veteran’s perspective:  how they felt moving around the world, what it was like being deployed to a combat zone, what they thought of the support (or lack thereof), or what they’ve found since getting back or out of the service.

Wounds Unseen

my tears are hidden by the raindrops 
which fall upon my face
here, hunched in trenches
where mud and blood now mingle
In this war-torn early dawn
lit by fire....and hate
thoughts of home come unbidden
even as uncertainty covers me;
a too-thin blanket that cannot keep out the chill.
even my thoughts of "there" offer no warmth
though my heart still beats its' march of Courage
while all around the bombs are bursting
the bullets are flying
through mingled raindrops and tears
I watch my friends fall prone upon the blood-soaked earth.
above the screams of guns and men
I hear the enemy approaching.
Yet, still hunched, and wet, and cold
I do not abandon my post.
Though my fear and faith collide 
a brave heart stays true.
No matter who is right --
--  or who is left;
there will be no turning back
for that which remains behind:  Freedom
It comes at a heavy price
of which this soldier may pay in full
But even if I win this day
and find myself homeward bound once more,
because my tears are hidden
they cannot see, as I,
and thus, they cannot know --
 there is no such thing 
as an Unwounded Soldier.