healing, inspirational, Military, poetry

Myrmidon Tears

Jonathon LaForce, poet, former Marine, father, and good man, sent me this and asked me to publish it on the blog. Thank you, sir, for your service, and for sharing this… 

Silent Fallen

Myrmidon Tears

“Parade rest!”

At once, 600 pairs of boots stamp into the grass,

Palms crossing in the small of our backs.

7 months and 2 weeks after it started,

This is how we end the deployment.

“Murderous muscle-bound myrmidons!”

Two hours under the sun,

Performing a final act to honor a good man.

And though we’d rather leave

Discipline demands we stand,

As if performing the Birkenhead Drill.

“Jack-booted gun-toting thugs!”

The man’s name is stated,

His deeds recounted, and of him,

No foul word nor claim can be said.

A genuine truth this, for he was

In all regards a Christian gentleman.

“War criminals! Baby killers! Rapists!”

He was twenty-one that day

Old enough to drink, to vote, to shave

Old enough to pick up a rifle

Old enough to start a family

Old enough to wear the symbols

Of an American Marine.

But Death cares not for such things

And a roadside bomb laid him low.

It’s why we’re here today,

Listening to his mother plea for her baby.

El Dio, Mijo, Padre Celestial.

“First Sergeants, call the roll!”

We brace ourselves, knowing what’s on the way,

Sure as god, sure as death.

“PFC Josue Ibarra! PFC Josue Ibarra! PFC Josue Ibarra!”

Not once, not twice, but thrice his name’s repeated,

A white hot brand searing into our minds.

The boots come out, placed with care,

Then a rifle, held in place by the bayonet

Stabbed deep into the soil.

Finally a helmet to cap it all off.

This is the marker of a man who fell in battle.

It dates back to earlier days,

Tarawa, Belleau Wood, Chapultepec.

They escort his mother up first

We watch as she faints,

Falling over unable to contain the grief.

And all of it makes us angry.

Rage and grief combine as we approach that marker.

Paying our respects to the fallen.

Wishing for one awful moment to trade him places

Before we send him on to the eternities.

Our society hates us…

The ruling elite despise our symbols

Celebrities mock us at every turn,

Fearing and hating our capacity for violence.

They fervently believe that all we are

Is unthinking, unfeeling, uncaring beasts of war.

They’ll never know what it means

To “stand to” by dawn’s early light;

To run up the colors each day,

Wondering if you’ll live to see them lowered,

In the southern Afghan desert;

To plug a slashed jugular

And save a young marine’s life as bullets crack over head.

To load and fire and load again

Cannons roaring like dragons.

They’ll never see the myrmidon’s tears,

Etching scars not just in our faces

But our minds, our hearts, the fabric of our souls

They never see the drinking, the grief

The ways we harden ourselves outwardly;

They never see the guilt of surviving

Of living and wishing to die,

If only so that at one better than you could live.

Angel’s never cry,

We give hope to those we protect.

No one sees the myrmidon’s tears.

–Jonathon LaForce, 2014

7 thoughts on “Myrmidon Tears

  1. I’m trying to find words to express my appreciation and my sorrow. I haven’t lost any service members, but my dad is ex-Navy, and four of my five brothers are or were military. So this comes close to home.

    This is beautiful, Jonathan. Thank you.

  2. Some fear these guardians. I do not. I thank G-d for these guardians, for without them, this country would have fallen.

    This piece is beautiful, and heart wrenching. Well done.

    Semper Fi.

  3. Damn it Johnny I can not see what I am typing for the tears. To lose a fellow Marine or shipmate in my case was the hardest thing we faced. Dying would have been easier than facing the family and seeing the question in their eyes. Why weren’t you there to save my husband/brother/father/son. I have never seen it put so eloquently Marine. Simper Fi. because someday you will stand looking at your son and watch him board the bus to boot. How do I know this? No man with your honor could raise his son to stand any less tall. Thank you not only for your service but for the hope you give this old vet that we have not lost our nations way. Damn I hope thisis readable cause I can no longer see my screen.

  4. In memory of those I have personally served with, who are now lost. We loved them as brothers, may they rest in peace…

    “Sergeant Gage… Sergeant Adam Gage… Sergeant Adam S. Gage!!”

    “Sergeant Loutsenheizer… Sergeant Matthew Loutsenheizer… Sergeant Matthew James Loutsenheizer!!!”

    “Specialist Powers… Specialist James Powers… Specialist James Joseph Powers!!”

    “Battalion! Present, Arms!”

    *Taps*

    Gone the Sun!
    Gone the Moon!
    Gone the Sea, Gone the Stars, Gone the Sky!
    All is well, say good night!
    God is nigh!

    “Order, Arms!”

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