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From Iraq to Heaven
by lynn gipson 
04/29/12
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique


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He wakes in an alley,
Behind a restaurant.
His body is ravaged,
His face it is gaunt.

He searches a can,
For something to eat,
His mind is boggled.
His strength getting weak.

Recollections and flashbacks
Of a merciless war.
Death and destruction,
His proud purple heart.

Bombs in the air.
Explode in his head.
Bodies fly skywards,
His friends lying dead.

He feels for his arm,
Itís no longer there.
They sent him home,
From Iraq to nowhere.

Blank faces still haunt him.
Children that died.
Innocents blown away,
Along the road side.

He prays for forgiveness,
Though none can be felt,
He walks through his world,
Condemning himself.

Friends try to help him,
Help will not come.
His grieves for his comrades.
He lived, but not some.

His mind wonít release him.
He takes to the streets,
Wandering anywhere,
Searching for peace.

The soldier in him
Has learned to survive,
Conditions untold,
To keep him alive.

His soul it is numb
To another day.
His body gets sicker.
He continues to pray.

Then Jesus appears,
In this morningís light.
Surrounding his being,
Into the next night.

He cries out "Dear Jesus!"
Relief finally comes.
After years of dying,
His Lord takes him home.















If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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Member Comments
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom  01 Jun 2012
This made me shake so my hands can hardly type. I commend you on your boldness and courage of being able to open your heart to strangfers. For so many of us war is nothing but a word. I pray it stays that way but we also need to pray for empathy and respect for those who know the word way too intimately. You did an outstanding job of balancing the line. Telling about it so we will never forget the price that has been made. I do have a couple of thoughts and that's all they are is something I thought about while reading. First the line about is proud purple heart, my first thought was that some soldiers aren't necessarily proud of the purpler heart especially if they received for an injury where he survived but most of his buddies died. Then I thought perhaps it has an even deeper meaning then the medal but somehow the war itself turned his heart purple- for you get purple by mixing blue (which could stand for depression) and red (for blood) and in essence changing the heart that was proud to serve his county purple. But I may be over thinking it. The next was the word innocents meaning more than one innocent but while reading it sounds like innocence (the state of being innocent) was lost. To me that was profound. I see nothing politically incorrect about it at all. The only thing I might even suggest changing is the title because it gives away the ending. Also maybe the word Iraq because then it could speak for every soldier who fought everywhere. The last thing I want to say is to be able to write such a gripping poem you either had to serve or have someone very close to you serve and I wanted to thank you for your service and sacrifice for me and my family.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom  01 Jun 2012
I always try to read a piece without reading the comments so after I posted mine and read what Graham said I needed to come back. I'm befuddled by his remarks. There are plenty of people who truly believe and have an intimate relationship with Jesus who condemn themselves. Just because you are a Christian doesn't mean every day is sunshine and roses. Sometimes you can feel quite alone and not know that Jesus is beside you. Look at what Christ said on the cross. If he can have a moment of feeling forsaken then so can we. In fact I believe he had that moment for the exact purpose of saying I know how you feel. With that said I noticed a typo when I reread you have near the bottom his grieves and you want he grieves or his grief. Also should roadside be one word? Hugs Shann
Graham Insley  06 May 2012
You did this very well and I just had to read it over several times. Poetry is very personal and I will not make comments on style, rhythm or rhyme for that reason; plus I am not qualified to do so. But there are two comments I wish to make. You use 'no where' which should be 'nowhere'; no space. The grammar is more correct but it also adds more power to the verse. Also, but this is very personal and may not apply; it is a theological point I guess. I would have liked to see evidence of salvation in this guy's life. There are hints that he doesn't actually know Jesus which could have been hints that he did, but was still fighting a war (spiritual). And example is verse 7: "He prays for forgiveness, Though none can be felt, He walks through his world, Condemning himself." It may be difficult sometimes to feel forgiven; but you have to feel it occasionally, even if rare, if you know Jesus. The same is true with self condemnation. Some, in Christ, may never walk a victorious life, but it is the 'working out' of salvation not the truth of it. This could read: He prays for forgiveness, That is so hard to be felt, And even knowing it's wrong, He keeps condemning himself. This hints at knowing he is forgiven but not being able to feel it enough to live it; knowing he should not condemn himself but being trapped in the pain etc. Now, of course, this is only one of many ways that could throw out the hint of struggling to walk out salvation. But the point remains that pain, bad experiences and rejection alone are not evidence of salvation. The only way to the Father is through the Son. I don't mean for this to be theological debate and only make this comment because I believe it will add dynamite to an already very powerful poem.
Cynthia Dawson 05 May 2012
I just read your poem and I have to say that I just love it! You were able to describe what goes on in the mind of a soldier very well. Once they return from Iraq it often isn't an entire return. The body is here but the mind isn't. I know this oh so well since my son served there twice. He fights many demons from what he saw to what he had to do. He does also have some good memories as well since they did do good deeds while there also, taking food to children etc. I have nothing I would want to change nor would I suggest a change as it speaks very clearly and accurately as far as I'm concerned, however, our son should be out here on Sunday and I will ask him to read it and see what he thinks as well. Great poem!




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