I am a soldier

I began writing this poem because I was reflecting on the title of a well-known hymn, ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ and my own life experiences. 


I Am A Soldier

by Shannon Morris

I am a soldier.

I am too far from heaven,

and I’m too close to hell.

I am scared, wounded, bleeding, crazed,

uncertain, collected, mindful, on the edge.

Looking for my compassion

Looking for my humanity

Looking for my comrades.

Torn between elation, frustration,

terror, and self-hatred.

Everyone is proud of me, but I am

ashamed to report, in letters to loved ones,

my actions, my moral dilemmas,

the tearing apart of my identity.

Ethics and action must be reconciled.

I am fighting for my life,

but more importantly, for

the lives of my brothers and

the lives of my distant family.

This is an overwhelming responsibility,

the heaviest thing I carry.

Waiting for orders…

waiting, waiting, waiting…

Watching myself hurt

and hurt others.

It all seems too big

and too much.

And there will not be much left of me

by the end of this tour.

Even if I survive,

can I ever find a home

again? Can I ever feel safe

again?  Can I ever feel clean

again? Can I ever sleep


I am wounded.

I am grasping my

fellow fighter’s arm.

I will not surrender.

I am fighting.

I am a soldier.


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