The inspiration for this poem was a line from Billy Collins' poem "Nightclub." In the poem the narrator speaks of sitting in a nightclub listening to jazz singer Johnny Hartman and the music that allows those listening to "slip by degree into a rythmic dream." That line made me think of a time in which I slipped by degree into a flashback. This poem depicts the original experience that was the flashback's sourse.
Nature and the Unnatural
Harsh natural forces: searing heat and humidity, freezing cold and wind; and
forces unnatural: life draining and death dealing
conflict, lead the unprotected
Natural and gentle
breezes, rustling leaves,
chirping birds, the cosmic dance
can induce one into
a rhythmic dream.
A young soldier once stood in nature.
Harsh natural forces and forces unnatural
in an environment of
Sleep deprived, he’d walked beyond
exhaustion carrying the weight of
a weapon, ammunition, grenades,
Dazed, he stands in a swamp.
The sun’s mid-day heat ricochets off the
water’s blazing surface
Energy continues to
from him as he waits
for orders to move on and
for the elements of war:
booby-traps and ambushes,
He is little more than a shell,
waiting zombie-like to