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About the Poem

At times we may forget that soldiers are just people like everyone else. They laugh, they cry, they have sweethearts and mothers, birthdays and favorite cars - and they die.

Sometimes when we are celebrating victories we forget about those who made it possible, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

A Few Visitor Comments

khadijah
how touching. i have two boys over seas. USMC. I do understand this poem.
rebecca
They did a great job. It was a very deep poem.
Andrea
my son served in Iraq and I prayed for the good Lord Jesus to return him safe and sound and he did. This poem reminds me of the sons and daughters that didn't come back alive and so it touched me in many ways. I think this poem is wonderfully written and touvhes the heart in it's deepest recesses. Good Job!
richa
a great and a touching one. i don't know how. but could feel the pain while reading it. it really touched my heart . there are very few writings which can move your heart. and it did.

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Small Pain In My Chest

The soldier boy was sitting calmly underneath that tree.
As I approached it, I could see him beckoning to me.
The battle had been long and hard and lasted through the night
And scores of figures on the ground lay still by morning's light.

"I wonder if you'd help me, sir", he smiled as best he could.
"A sip of water on this morn would surely do me good.
We fought all day and fought all night with scarcely any rest -
A sip of water for I have a small pain in my chest."

As I looked at him, I could see the large stain on his shirt
All reddish-brown from his warm blood mixed in with Asian dirt.
"Not much", said he. "I count myself more lucky than the rest.
They're all gone while I just have a small pain in my chest."

"Must be fatigue", he weakly smiled. "I must be getting old.
I see the sun is shining bright and yet I'm feeling cold.
We climbed the hill, two hundred strong, but as we cleared the crest,
The night exploded and I felt this small pain in my chest."

"I looked around to get some aid - the only things I found
Were big, deep craters in the earth - bodies on the ground.
I kept on firing at them, sir. I tried to do my best,
But finally sat down with this small pain in my chest."

"I'm grateful, sir", he whispered, as I handed my canteen
And smiled a smile that was, I think, the brightest that I've seen.
"Seems silly that a man my size so full of vim and zest,
Could find himself defeated by a small pain in his chest."

"What would my wife be thinking of her man so strong and grown,
If she could see me sitting here, too weak to stand alone?
Could my mother have imagined, as she held me to her breast,
That I'd be sitting HERE one day with this pain in my chest?"

"Can it be getting dark so soon?" He winced up at the sun.
"It's growing dim and I thought that the day had just begun.
I think, before I travel on, I'll get a little rest ..........
And, quietly, the boy died from that small pain in his chest.

I don't recall what happened then. I think I must have cried;
I put my arms around him and I pulled him to my side
And, as I held him to me, I could feel our wounds were pressed
The large one in my heart against the small one in his chest.

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More Visitor Comments (from the Voting form)

lynn
One of the best I have ever read. Thank you.
elizabeth
So real. Unfortunately.
Alexis
the poem is great, it can touch the reader's heart.
Krystal
Wow that was really good.
Tammy
This poem touched me because my dad was in airforce and he held his best friend and watced his friend go. this is the best poem I have read in a in a really long time my dad was born in 1937 and he would say this poem had a lot of heart because it happened to him. thank you for touching my heart.
Xochil
The poet does a good job telling a story. i like it.
zach
Wow! Awesome. it touched me so much . We really nevert think bout how the soldiers r fightin. For our own peace! Keep writng u r helpin put on on message n voice out there!
rachill
truly beautiful in a sad way wanted to read it again and again
annetta
This is one poem that actually touched the inside of my soul. I have a brother that was in the service, and I worried about him daily. I was one of the lucky ones that never had to receive that call. For my brother, I say Thank You.
ninina
the poem is very touching and i think its been one of the passionate poem on earth
alexander
having been a soldier for 18 years and having served in N. IRELAND and the falklands, when i read this poem it brought back memories of tumbledown and the sheer futility and absurdity of armed conflict. it brought back the feelings i had as i watched my friends die or get wounded following orders, i think the author has captured the aftermath of a battle where even the winners lose, i would be interested to know if the author had ever been in a live battle. once again i would like to congratulate the author in capturing the heartrending aftermath of battle
Morgan
This poem is very deep I really like it alot!
molly
the poem is beautiful. i felt a little pain in my chest too. i am also tired after the battle of life i am in. but my life continues with this little pain in my chest and with great strong support of dear god. i always know compared to others my life is always better and find happiness in sharing the little pain of other small hearts around me.
brookie
i love this poem and im only 12 years old
Benjamin
I am a soldier in the u. s. army and i can't help but feel like that was one of my comrades, it hits so close to home, it almost brought tears to my eyes, I am proud to say that i serve with men like that, That is the type of soldier that dies for this great country everyday, so that everyone has the freedom to write great poems like this. thank you for taking your time to write this poem in rememberence of our fallen heros.
Monique
This poem was beautiful, because it was true. Truth is beautiful, because even in all out ugliness and darkness it allows the soul to focus on a moment's action; and thus set a course. It's an amazing testament to a person's humanity and the heartbreak of our frailties. A MILLION STARS & THUMBS UP TO YOU! Thank You.
Gillian
I also felt a pain in my chest hving read this poem! Really touching!
margarita
Thank you Mr. Mack for this wonderful and heartfelt poem, i am going to share with many of my friends, its what is really happening with this war, many people don't acknownlage and praise what our MAN are doing for us so we can live in this land of freedon, god bless our troops and god bless AMERICA, THANK YU
Gloria
I loved this poem , so sublime and full of truth.
Manessa
Your words gave me chills, thinking about all the young people who have lost their lives in battle. I don't know any personally but your poem made it personal for me. Thank you and God Bless
Ellie
This poem has incredible amount of depth. Each word, Each line, Each stanza i can picture everything. From the moment the man was beckond, to the time he held the soldier in his arms. I had tears in my eyes, and makes think how many people are out there fighting for us, and our country. I bless each and ever soldier out there, and pray that they serve and be able to come back to their families. I too know people serving and am proud of each of them.
Jane
This poem really touched my heart,more than ive read yet. It seems as though the war goes on the boy was fighting yet. may god rest his soul. always remembering our true heroes.
Lewis
You've got real talent, you look at whats really there underneath. Anyway you need to pursue writing as a career! I would be simpley honoured if you told me the story behind this poem. I really enjoyed it!
Navya
This poem touches everyone's heart . and speaks the truth . which very few experience in life . Hats-off to all those brave soldiers protecting us . and its at the cost of their lives that we are leading such a peaceful life.
melissa
Aw, that was wonderful~ Touching! Missie
Susan E.
I was very much touched by this poem. Our servicemen deserve so much honor for fighting for our country. They are so couragious and they give their all for our country and to keep us safe. God be with each and everyone of these brave men and women and protect them from harm and help them to return home safe to their families and friends. WE LOVE YOU FOR KEEPING OUR COUNTRY SAFE AND OUR HEARTS ARE WITH YOU.
j
Brought a sadness to my heart because my son and daughter could be the soldier. God forbid it won't be.
misty dawn
that was just wonderful and so sad.
Rosalina
This poem was great very awesome i am a very young teacher who works as a lanuage arts. This poem touched my heart keep up the great work now im going to share this poem with my students i bet they will love it too!
sarah
This poem made me cry, smile, but most of all, reminded me that we are all just mortal beings at the end of each gruelling day.
Dolores
I love this poem it has a special meaning to me because I have 3 children in the service 2 young men in the Marines and one Young lady in the Army. It breaks my heart to think that this could of had being my child. One of my boys served in Ireq twice and my daughet was over there too. Keep up the good work.
colby
I don't know if Michael Mack is renowned or not, but a poem like this rivals some of the most touching and thoughtful poems that I have ever read. the irony at the end of the poem made me feel like the man with the canteen. i am 15 years old and doing a project for school, and was not expecting such an incredible poem.
sade
Michael, im totally speechless on this one. i mean that was brillant and touching. im 17 and i like to think of my self as a love/relationship poet but i have a long way to come. just by reading some of your poems michael mack youve mad me one of ur biggest fans
keyaisha
fabolous!
Fanci
The poem really hit my heart. But, I don't what to do with that pain.
Mekis
I just love this poem, it really touched my heart.
maria
This poem really touched me because I have friends so close that I consider family,and they are in Iraq this moment. it really reflects on how I feel about the war and my close friends. and to this poet, I just want to let you know that you are a really good writer and to never give up hope. I wish you luck and keep writing!
Brandon
this poem has enlighted my view on the pain of war one of the best ive read off this site
Perla
You know I had a step dad who went to war and what he saw he cannot recall why it was so painful watching all of them die and seeing himself holding a knife ful of something he couldn't have life with and thinking and thinking were did this come from
latahsa
i love your poem it is mice to read whan your in or not in the mood by latahsa ross
jessica
This is just an amazing poem. its so touching and the writer did a good job of capturing the patriosm of a soldier and the value of what a soldier gives up for strangers. im really impressed. amazing writing.
M
Nice use of understatement.
marie
realy brought home the bravery and the uglyness of war.
Marlina
Oh my goodness. I honestly havent cried in about a year and your poems made the tears come down. My grandpa was in the war and I have so much respect for the soldiers so hearing a poem as amazing as this truly touched me.
Cheryl
This was so Awsome! To me. So Beautiful. Thank You.
PK
What a wonderfully written piece! With all the media coverage regarding numbers, its hard to remember the soldiers as an individual. This poem reminds us(me) and I'm thankful! -PK
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