In the middle of the green cornfields below blue cotton candy skies,
You may find my man weeping like a little child,
No amount of probing can tell me the reason why.
Then one day I found a journal under the rug,
It gave me some insights into his tortured mind.
It read as follows, “Dear Mary (me),
I am a dead man walking among other dead ones.
I lived once before the Great War broke out.
Oh! It was a war among the riches to become richer,
All they did was create armies of starving men,
To kill each other and cleanse our lands of them.
God only knows how that solves the world’s problems!
I was one among those emaciated men
Born into poverty and lived in poverty
War promised me good food and dignity
So I joined the forces to fight the war
And all I managed to get was some scars
On my mind which is now marred.
PART-2 (The Great War)
This is the tale of the day
That marked the start of other horrendous days.
The president's speech was echoing in my head
“War is the handmaiden of progress."
I reluctantly rose from my bed
And the cadet in the bunk above (Joseph) spoke of mulberry trees,
Of winters beside the sea and the glories of drudgeries.
Then he softly asked me," Can we flee?"
I replied, ‘Our home is almost thousand miles away.
We would end being detainees.'
The general roared forward and a thousand cadets died.
The battlefield was drenched in blood,
Men strewn on ground like fallen leaves,
More men of ours than them Turks.
Of all in our camp only thirty two survived,
All those who lived were grateful,
As we had not an inkling of what was in store
Death laid his icy hands upon Joseph
A look of astonishment on his face
Did he not know that death is liberation?
We were near in a POW camp not too far
Later I’d pass those fields to work
Joseph was still there in those fields
Gradually his astonishment turned into a permanent smile
His flesh and skin gave way for ivory bones
All those who were alive became mere shadows and foot sores.
PART-2 (The stolen years)
In a city of beautiful mountains, guarded by a stone gate
Civilians numbering to thousands, would meet their fate
They had ran their way to safety from the Ottoman Empire
Little did they realise they would perish in the shellfire
Some days later the Ottoman Turks did encroach
To kill all the Christ’s children like cockroaches
One by one they were brought into a caravansary
Sounds of clicking revolvers marked the onset of this butchery
Fountains of crimson sprouted, lakes of crimson pooled
Heaps of still bodies rose, like mountains kissing the sky
Who among them was the vainest?
Who among them was the greediest?
Nobody knows because they are now mere corpses with gaping jaws
Glassy eyes and a fixed stare as life withdraws
A tiny boy with a catapult in his one hand and tiny stones in another
Seemed to be looking through from the blanket of cadavers
Glassy eyes did seem to say,” I will complain to god about you.”
Did he not know that he’d never meet god as there ain’t any?
I was among those demons with the revolvers
I had no choice but to follow the orders.
PART -4 (Epilogue)
This is where I pawned my humanity
Thought I could redeem it later
The days of hardships eventually faded
The price I had to pay was fixed
A piece of my head to live out the rest
Of what the world calls a decent life
But in the deepest whorls of my mind
That tiny boy aims with his catapult
Maybe an apple fell down once
Maybe some mangoes fell down
But his tiny hands never grew
His glassy eyes never moved
I stole his youth and manhood
I stole his mother’s destiny of watching him grow
And I mercilessly added it to extend my time.
Why wars? Why ethnic cleansing?
Is to satisfy man’s greed or to satiate man’s inner beast.
I still don’t know.
Matthews.” - See more at: http://allpoetry.com/poem/11908500-Stolen-Years-by-varsha-rajendran#sthash.qKXnjsuF.dpuf