Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Carved Wooden Soldier

Hand Carved Wooden Soldier,
photo by emilydickinsonridesabmx from Flickr.com

Carved Wooden Soldier

The old man
Sits and carves
Entrenched lines
Like wrinkles
In the furl of his brow
Layers are stripped
Like mines
As he whittles in time
Slivers curl back as years
With shavings and tears
As remnants fall like shrapnel
To the cutting room floor
In disciplined craftsmanship
The essence of childhood
Is revealed in wood
As the toy soldier stood
The old man salutes what is lost
And what would never be understood

© November 5, 2014, Robbie Pruitt

Prayer of Thanksgiving for Heroic Service

“O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful
 hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of
 decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant 
that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the
 benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This
 we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 839)

This poem, Carved Wooden Soldier, was featured on Tweetspeak Poetry’s Whittles and Wood: Photo Play and Prompt here.

This poem, Carved Wooden Soldier, was first featured on Tweetspeak Poetry’s Whittles and Wood: Poetry Prompt and Playlist here.

This was the Poetry Prompt: “You’re watching an old timer peel away layers of wood with a pocketknife he’s had since boyhood. What is he whittling? What does it tell you about him?”

The allusion to a war veteran in the poem is intentional. The old man used to carve soldiers and imagine great battles when he was a boy. In his old age, he now understands the costliness of war and has seen it first hand. He has his own carved lines from the experiences of being on the front lines. He has seen the horrors and carves the memories as he longs for innocence lost. He had whittled in the trenches and now he whittles remembering battles on minefields. He recalls his childhood and his collections of little wooden toy soldiers. He salutes his finished product as he remembers his friends he has lost to war, just as he had lost his childhood innocence on innumerable battle lines.

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