He had a disintegrating childhood.

Broken home, residential and foster care.

Joined the army aged fifteen and three quarters.

Married. Three kids. Divorced.

Married again. Three more kids.

Six tours back to back. Left the army, sick to death.

Friends disintegrating in his arms. Just kids.

Home to family. To hope, but more despair.

Rows and harsh words. 

"Get a job, we need more money", 

"You're not the man I married",

"I can't do this any more".

Police call outs. Cautions. Arrests. Convictions.

He lives in a rented room now.

Sells double glazing door to door.

Sees the kids on Sundays.

(She's not vindictive. No restraining order)

Nine medals sitting in the bedside drawer.

"I was mentioned in dispatches" he murmurs 

As he disintegrates into a bottle of Irish.

◄ One Bright Day

Pain or Suffering? ►


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Hazel ettridge

Wed 28th Nov 2018 21:47

Thank you all for reading and commenting.

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Taylor Crowshaw

Wed 28th Nov 2018 19:26

I thought this an excellent poem. Raw hard hitting, truth. ❤


Wed 28th Nov 2018 18:26

Hello Hazel

I really enjoyed reading this.

The truth is often so painful that some poets gloss over the bigger picture.

As our friends here have said, keeping it real.

I am reluctant to say this … Tell him to put a cork in it!

Send him my thoughts... send him here!


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Patricio LG

Wed 28th Nov 2018 15:09

If only we could find within ourselves some of the perpetual youth, a positive thought of when we began and what we will achieve. Nevertheless would we have changed anything, if we were at the beginning of each choice, relationship, career. I was very touched by your honesty. Keep it real

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Hazel ettridge

Wed 28th Nov 2018 15:08

Hi Graham, this friend was a true war hero, but now, just getting from one day to the next is truly heroic work.

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Graham Sherwood

Wed 28th Nov 2018 15:01


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Graham Sherwood

Wed 28th Nov 2018 14:04

Disturbing, polemical, a cutting narrative. A really powerful reportage piece Hazel without wallowing in either sides argument! Well done!

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Hazel ettridge

Wed 28th Nov 2018 13:50

Thanks Anya. Been in a bit of a bubble recently, trying to face up to a few home truths of my own.

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