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PTSD - My Silent Scream

Poetry is the food of the soul. It's my greatest contribution to the world and an area I can always grow.


My physical form has left the war

Hands unclean; my eyes forever scarred

I left carrying a silent scream

Just a grunt, a nobody is a sea of green

Just following orders, or so it seemed

Put my boots on without questioning

Aim and shoot and shoot some more

I can still hear the echoes in my head

Armor plated death rumbling by

That distinctive squeaking clanking

Of treaded steel on desert sands

Single columns heading off to battle

A deadly snake in camouflage

Fangs of long range death and pain

Leaving only blackness and flames

The end of the line; served my time

Medals on my uniform

Collections of foreboding memories

And the forced forgetting process

Again and again and over again

Bury them deep and lock them away

Bloodstains that won’t wash away

Echoes of screaming children

Explosions and mortar fire

Pitter-patter of falling debris

Bodies lay juxtaposed in the sun

But always knowing and never showing

Some of them were caused by me…


Author's Note

PTSD is a crippling and lasting mental health issue caused by extreme trauma. It is not something to be taken lightly or ignored. Even the toughest of tough can suffer from it. This original poem is not about me, nor am I suffering from PTSD. As a writer, I try to put into words the experiences of others and I mean no offense to anyone who actually has PTSD. Not all combat soldiers experience war in the same way and this piece is not based on any actual events or individuals.

  • PTSD: National Center for PTSD Home
    Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem that can occur after a traumatic event like war, assault, or disaster. PTSD treatment can help. Find handouts, apps, videos, and courses based on current research. This site provides edu

© 2018 Ralph Schwartz


Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on July 09, 2018:

I know you didn't intend to diminish anyone, R.J. Your poem was specializing in combat PTSD, which is a very important subject. You handled it quite well, in my opinion. I was just pointing out that some of us actually can empathize with how they feel. It is not a good feeling.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on July 09, 2018:

A most emotional and creative take on such a symptom. Veterans though bravely marching into war have unsurmountable problems after the war. WIsh more people could understand that.

Ralph Schwartz (author) from Idaho Falls, Idaho on July 09, 2018:

Thank you for sharing your personal account - I did not intend to discount others (outside of military folk) who suffer from this terrible issue, and I appreciate you calling it out.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on July 07, 2018:

While I sympathize with our veterans with PTSD, including my husband, not all PTSD is combat related. My husband and I both went through PTSD therapy at the VA, and the team acknowledged that I had non-military PTSD. Mine is related to domestic violence in a former marriage. Therapy helped, but only total amnesia would cure it. I know what is like to go through the symptoms, not of guilt, but of being a victim. But the worst experience was my sister's suicide where she was her own victim. You see, all kinds of traumatic experiences can cause PTSD, including in these school kids who survive the shootings. Probably some of the children held in migrant centers without their parents will experience PTSD.

My most recent experience was a couple of weeks ago when I was considering a lawsuit over something. It triggered an episode, and I realized that I would have to let it go.

manatita44 from london on July 06, 2018:

A real problem. Bill has touched on this. Never easy to witness man's inhumanity to man. Some wars are just, perhaps. Very few, Bro. Very few.

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