A/N: This poem was greatly inspired by the book Soldier’s Heart (by Gary Paulsen), but other than that, the work is mine.

Before:

A reckless little boy

A lust for adventure

The yearning for excitement

And so, foolishly,

He entered the game

The game of war.

During:

There are rules

Survival is an option,

Not mandatory.

Horrors break him down

As he begins to grow

In the eyes of battle.

He sees-

Death lingering in the air.

Hovering around him.

Heading for him.

Entering him.

Only with wild luck

Can he barely regain

The spark of life.

And yet-

He has changed.

Life has changed him.

After:

Memories are haunting

They live, even if he doesn’t

He covers his ears

He closes his eyes

He shuts his mind

But they will never leave

Because they are forever

As is he-

He is now a man

With a soldier’s heart.