We were not young soldiers off to combat

marching with set jaws and eyes afire

but middle-aged warriors with aches

from exertion and job skills for war zones.


We embarked from local airport runways,

out of family cars bearing spouses, children.

We were engineers, carpenters, and cooks

leaving behind homes with mortgages, TVs


and Little League games we could not watch,

to fight in swirling desert sand,

heat and homemade bombs,

the new language of battles written


in words spelled backwards from right to left.

It was a price we paid in a global strife

that we soon began to understand.


George Chappell is Rockland resident and former member of The Courier-Gazette news staff. He leads Veterans Writing for Life, which meets Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon in the Walsh History Center at Camden Public Library.

The Courier-Gazette will feature quality poems of local authors in this space. If you would like to submit a poem, please email it to News Editor Dan Dunkle at ddunkle@courierpublicationsllc.com or mail it to 91 Camden St., Suite 403, Rockland, ME 04841. Please be sure to include your name, address, daytime phone number and a little information about the poet. No profanity or explicit material, please. 500 words or less preferred.