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My Father

A prisoner of war and fear

By Ralph EmersonPublished 3 months ago 1 min read
My Father
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Now I understand a father I forgive

A father who died as he sadly lived.

In nineteen hundred and thirty-nine

Some two score years and none

He went to war with a knapsack,

Some hard-tack biscuits and a gun.

He saw bombs and bullets in some army billets

And an enemy on the run.


Six terror-stricken years

Amidst blood sweat and tears,

And a multitude of understandable fears

He was a prisoner of the Hun.

Who knows what that does to a man’s mind

I can’t even imagine what it would do to mine.

He came back from the front skin and bone

Written off for dead he was all alone.

And all of his dreams had long since gone

Leaving him standing all on his own,

It can’t have been much fun.


And now looking back I kind of understand

Why he was how he was with eight kids and a wife

Undernourished, underpaid, under stress, undermanned,

Screaming and shouting under his command.

A man goes into himself, and it seems underhand,

But all he is doing is trying to understand

How he lost his dreams in some foreign land.


I look at his parched old photograph

He and Mum having a laugh,

Thinking of the future they planned,

Being forced to lose it in some faraway land.

And I forgive him for his lack of interest

In the scruffy little kid whose life he cursed

And whose life he blessed

I look back to that early war-torn dawn

When I think I lost him before I was born

When he turned his back on his future wife

To become embroiled in another’s strife.

I love you Dad I always did,

I just wish you were here

So I could tell you when you hid I felt your fear

And now I understand, oh yes, I understand.

All you could play was what you had in your hand.

sad poetry

About the Creator

Ralph Emerson

Author/top writer/editor for various Medium publications (2020/23).

Musician/singer/songwriter/arranger/producer (1969-2021).

Author of 12 books of short stories and poetry. Out now on Amazon.

Three times Top Story on Vocal Media (June 2023).

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran3 months ago

    Gosh this really broke my heart. He was just so strong!

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