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.

This poem originally was published in Poems on Life

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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Visitor Comments (from the Voting form)
  • 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.
  • 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.
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