military poems

I crave affection. Not sex, but the most innocent parts of affection. I crave somebody to cuddle with me, and lay their head on lap. I crave kisses. I crave holding hands and running my thumb across theirs. I crave somebody to hold me while they tell me their thoughts or issues. I crave just looking at someone and wondering how on earth I got that lucky. I crave the feeling of having someone love me just as much as I love them..

Looks like a cinnamon roll but could actually kill you:

Looks like could kill you but is actually a cinnamon roll:

Looks like a cinnamon roll and actually is a cinnamon roll:

Looks like could kill you and could actually kill you:

Sinnamon roll:

Despite the propaganda, there are no monsters,
or none that can be finally buried.
Finish one off, and circumstances
and the radio create another.
Believe me: whole armies have prayed fervently
to God all night and meant it,
and been slaughtered anyway.
Brutality wins frequently,
—  Margaret Atwood, from The Loneliness Of The Military Historian in “Morning In The Burned House”

What Manner of Men

The Devil at the table prepared to dine,
Said, where is Death,he is past his time,
He knows our rule that we dine at Ten,
As he merely went to make Cowards of men

Then a stir was heard outside the gate,
Soon Death limped in to his Hall of State,
With broken scythe, his beard awry,
And terror that had shone from fear limned eye,

And the Devil roared with all his might,
What happened thou art in such a plight?
Hard felt the weight of some heavy hand,
That thou in such mortal terror stand.

Thy orders, said Death, were but show my face,
And they’d blanch, these men of inferior race,
But they hurled me forth, with my neck nigh out,
To the Devil with Death, I heard them shout.

So what manner of Mortal can these be,
Said the Devil to make such sport of thee,
As the old man tenderly smoothed his hide,
They’re the men of ‘Arnhem’ sire he cried.

But you’ll make them fear us, the Devil roared,
Ere again you sit and sup at board,
Then I sup no more, old Death replied,
For as I left them, they laughed and died.

- Harvey Haywood


75 years ago on 17 Sept 1944 around 10,000 Paratroopers jumped into Arnhem on Operation Market Garden to liberate Holland. 

Only 2,400 returned.

This poem has in some way become associated with the Parachute Regiment over the years. Indeed a few years ago, a good friend of mine that I made as we both passed out of Sandhurst was to go on and proudly pass P Coy** on his way to become an officer in the Paras.

As a gift from his friends (and as brother officers) we gave him this poem in a framed portrait to remind him about the great legacy of service entrusted in his hands.

**Pegasus Company (also known as P Coy) is a training and selection organisation of the British armed forces. P Coy run the 'Pre-Parachute Selection’ course for trainee Parachute Regiment soldiers and officers as well as an 'All-Arms Course’ for Regular and Reserve personnel of all three British armed forces who are part of 16 Air Assault Brigade.

I thought I had known love before you, but boy was I wrong. With you this is different. This is true love. Not the ‘love’ where youre infatuated with the idea of someone, but once things get tough one of you leaves. That is not love. This, this is love. The love I know in my heart will never die. The love I know, although it just began, can make it through anything the universe may throw at us. The love that can make even the most terrible of places feel like home, just because you are there. I thought I knew love before, but I’m so glad I was wrong.

m.r.s// you got me to write again my love 10:08 pm

When He is on Military Leave

I’m telling you, darling

Memorize everything

Notice the signs and cars you pass on the way to his house

Cherish the smell of garlic that fills his kitchen when his sister cooks spaghetti

and appreciate the stories that his dad tells you about his own college professors

Take in the moment when his brother pokes fun at you for being last place in Pictionary on New Years Eve,

even though he was only one point ahead

When you’re the first person awake in the morning besides his parents, linger on the taste of coffee that his mom makes you

As well as the way the white T-shirt fits him when he enters the living room half asleep

When he cracks a joke that opens up blinds to the room- embrace it

When you make him laugh, treasure the details of his pure smile that he tends to hide

When he looks at you, remember how it makes you feel

Memorize every little, insignificant moment

Trust me, you’ll appreciate it when he’s miles and miles away

and you’re still stuck in the cornfields of Illinois

He talks of dough

And kneading - the timing of yeast.

He uses sodium bicarbonate

And magnesium - less floride

To cure the demons beneath.

He served one tour

In Africa, fighting the Ebola disease.

If you think he is a monster

For his size, his crimes, his wild

You should see how hard he tries

To belong to a broken world

In a way that unbreaks it.

You should see him build himself better

You should see him build the medical centers

You should see him build a simple loaf of bread.

It rained the day you left.
It’s like God knew,
it’s like he felt it too.
But the water drops I saw
run down the windows as
I watched you leave,
didn’t compare to
the pools of tears
soaking into my cheeks.
The backwards roll of the tires
on the gravel
became the sound
my ears dread the most.
—  please come home
There were nine of us camped at West Down South,
And nine of us crossed to France,
And we grew savvy to each other’s gaits,
When all of a sudden we fouled the fates,
And the only one left of all my mates
Is me, by the grace of Chance.

Poem by a Canadian soldier deployed to France during the First World War published in The Brazier, a Canadian soldiers’ newspaper.

From “Shock Troops” by Tom Cook

and the papers never prove me wrong

there are Children
roaming rubbled streets
toting automatic rifles
while adults load
backpacks with clips

there are Fathers
holding faded months
watching years escape
through bloody lip
forsaken wrapped blankets

there are Mothers
who cry prayers
to Heaven without
letters or tears
receiving silent responses

how did this happen?
why does it continue?
where did God go?

there are men who wield
religion like a sharpened sword
there are women who sob
with every shot and bomb drop
there are children who become
ghosts, wearing bandoliers like hope

there are wrinkled suits with
boastful tongues and drying pens
who have no qualms with sending
the poor to war but think funding
for school is a waste of resources
who believe healthcare to be
an unaffordable gated commumity
lining pockets behind closed doors
funding regimes and setting scenes
for future wars so Beretta and Boeing
never fear closing their doors

every day a new Child
learns how to control recoil
and empty spray reload
every day a new Father
learns what it means to lose
a reason for tomorrow
every day a new Mother
learns a way to forget
how to spell love

they say God
left a long
time ago

I say he
was never here
in the first place

Ryeowook’s poem to ELF / Le poème de Ryeowook pour les ELF

<Blue Star> Kim Ryeowook

I happened to lift my head to the skies
And I saw your face shining there

With all the memories of us laughing and crying
Withall the tume we’ve spent together

I wonder if you’re doing well
I find myself asking over and over again

You happened to life your head to the skies
I wonder if you remember my voice

With the winds that are warming
With the memories that continue to flow

I hope you’re doing well
I hope we meet again in good health

<Etoile Bleue> Kim Ryeowook

Je suis arrivé à lever ma têtes aux cieux
Et j’ai vu ton visage y briller

Avec tous les souvenirs de nous en train de rigoler et de pleurer
Avec tout le temps que nous avons passé ensemble

Je me demande si tu vas bien
Je me trouve en train de me demander toujours et encore

Il t’es arrivé de lever ta tête au cieux
Je me demande si tu te rappelle de ma voix

Avec les vents qui réchauffent
Avec les souvenirs qui continuent de couler

J’espère que tu vas bien
J’espère que nous nous rencontrerons bientôt en bonne santé

“Maybe it was supposed to end when you moved a town away, more than one stoplight away. Maybe it was supposed to end when you shipped off to California for two months, half across the country. Maybe the end was in the cards for us but shuffled in the deal. Maybe it’s supposed to end when I move to the college town, two months time. Maybe it’s supposed to end when you volunteer your signature, if not already marked. Maybe we’ve already ended, we just can’t feel it yet.”

Do Not Pet!

Please do not pet

My dog’s for service,

Please read her vest

Don’t make us nervous.


She has a job

She has a task,

Tailored for me

That’s why I ask.


You could get hurt

And so could she,

Listen, comply

I need her by me.


I am a veteran

Must I say more?

Disabled too

What my dog’s for.


It’s a true fact

You could distract,

How she’ll react

And her impact.


Open your eyes

Carefully look,

Read the few words

It’s not a book.


© Copyright-Gregory Fino

•US Marine Corps (0311)



Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die.

- Alfred Lord Tennyson, from the poem The Charge of the Light Brigade

Tennyson’s poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade, is based on events from the Battle of Balaclava that occurred near the Black Sea in 1854. This battle of the Crimean War, in which England, France and the Ottoman Empire fought against Russia, immediately captured Tennyson’s interest when he read a newspaper article detailing British casualties at Balaclava.

The many dead and wounded English soldiers were the result of a tragic misunderstanding about the location of Russian arms. Mistakenly informed that these arms were in a valley, the British troops descended and became easy targets of the Russians. As a result, almost half of the Light Brigade died.

The charge was made by the Light Brigade of the British cavalry, which consisted of the 4th and 13th Light Dragoons, 17th Lancers, and the 8th and 11th Hussars, under the command of Major General James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan. Also present that day was the Heavy Brigade, commanded by Major General James Yorke Scarlett, who was a past Commanding Officer of the 5th Dragoon Guards. The Heavy Brigade was made up of the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, the 5th Dragoon Guards, the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons and the Scots Greys. The two brigades were the only British cavalry force at the battle. 

The 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own) formed in 1715 would go on to a distinguished history and eventually with the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own)  they amalgamated in 1969 to form the Royal Hussars. The regiment was amalgamated once again with the 14th/20th King’s Hussars to form the King’s Royal Hussars on 4 December 1992.