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Life After War This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.

When I walked into the classroom I noticed my teacher was not there
In her place was an old man with a gentle but ghostly stare
He stood with sagging shoulders but his head was up high
He seemed too nice to trick so I didn't even try
I took my usual place in the corner of the brightly lit room
And when the old man stood up I could already picture his awaiting tomb
Class was about to begin but first we said the Pledge
I stood up as always but some sat down with their heads on their desks instead
When the old man opened his mouth to speak he said something I didn't expect
He looked at the ones sitting and said, “I know you may not care but I am highly upset.”
The rest of us sat down at our desks while he called roll
After he marked off the students who were absent he began his toll
“In the 1960s a war with Vietnam took place,” he said.
“It may not matter now but my friends fought in it. All wounded and underfed.
U.S. troops were outnumbered, we never ­really had a chance.
Thousands of men died and you can't honor them with a simple stance.”
All was silent and the atmosphere suddenly turned cold
The stern expression on the man's face began to unfold
His jaw unlocked and his face twisted into an eternal pain
My stomach panged with grief and I saw from the window it began to rain
“There were only six snipers that went in to attack.”
He looked away, into the distance, “And only one came back.”
I saw then that in his eyes was the dolefulness of the life after war
I would never have been able to see such a loss before
This man had seen something I could never explain
I would never experience his mourning, I would never feel his pain
Some kids snickered and some laughed out loud as the old man started to cry
I saw from my seat that his entire frame was shaking as he whispered, “My friends are all dead. I watched them die.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the December 2010 Teen Ink Poetry Contest.




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beautifulspiritThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm:
This is such a sad poem, but true---I can't imagine what that man must've felt in that classroom with those ignorant, laughing kids. That is so cruel. But you writing this poem in his honor, lets others know what he faced in war is a great thing.
 
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msp49 said...
Aug. 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm:
You summed this up really well and I actually had the urge to cry...wasn't expecting to get emtional, but this was great.  Excellent job, you really had me relate to the man in the story.
 
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Jakethesnake said...
Dec. 1, 2010 at 5:57 am:
This is just my opinion, but why write this as a poem? I mean, it's excellently written, but a story would have been cool.
 
KALEB S. replied...
Jan. 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm :
great poem man i liked the way how you used ryming and still was very deep
 
BreeTayler This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 15, 2011 at 10:54 pm :
I wrote it as a poem because Mr. Monaco (I still can't spell his last name right) had once told me that he enjoyed poetry. He died. And I wrote it in his honor... To write it as a short story would, to me, be less honorable...
 
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dolphin13 said...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 9:28 pm:
Wow! This poem is very touching. I think that sometimes we forget how much the troops have done for us. Your poem reminds us of their sacrifice. Good Job!
 
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bbeast said...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 10:35 am:
This is a very beautiful and touching poem. Thank you for sharing!
 
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