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The Veteran’s Wife

by Mariecor Agravante


When I was a middle school girl
I read books on battles of the world.
I perused Alexander the Great,
And Leonidas at the Hot Gates.
Marathon, Salamis, Carrhae, too;
Adrianople I had in view.
Pharsalus was pivotal, I’ve heard;
Actium sparked tactics navies observe.
And during the Medieval Age
The Battle of Tours was a vital gauge.
I learned of Hastings, even Bannockburn,
Crecy and Battle of Tannenberg.
Watling Street gave us famed Boudicaa,
Who’s studied in war curricula.
Agincourt, meanwhile, conquered the odds,
As though the win were an act of God.
Change in arms brought gunpowder’s era;
Remember Lepanto as chimera?
The Virgin Queen beat the Armada,
As decisive as Battle Saratoga.
Vienna, Boyne, and Battle of Blenheim
All had warriors fighting in their prime.
Yes, Concord and Lexington began
American Revolution’s advance.
Yorktown was a watershed victory
That helped solidify liberty.
Trafalgar, Austerlitz, Borodino
We remember like the old Alamo.
Of course, everyone knows Waterloo
And of how an Emperor withdrew.
Shiloh, Antietam, and Gettysburg
Have all been detailed in many a dirge.
Battles Somme, Jutland, and the Marne
Have been recounted in veteran yarn.
Much has been owed to those few spitfires;
Their Battle of Britain feat still inspires.
Midway, Stalingrad, and Normandy
Gave lessons that have come quite handily.
Korea’s Inchon Landing and Chosin
Showed the fog of war as quite protean.
Dien Bien Phu and the Tet Offensive
Unveiled war wounds that were extensive.


I’m seasoned now in being a vet’s wife,
I see the echoes of past wars’ strife.
T.S. Eliot writing of The Wasteland
Is shell shock – battle fatigue I understand.
The nihilism written of by Nietzsche
Is like the abyss felt from PTSD.
“Spent from the front,” with cynicism
Is akin to dark existentialism.
History may have sanitized war,
Some films romanticized it by far.
But philosophers and writers of old
Have trauma’s melancholia chronicled.
He’s unsteady with stress, has weariness,
Pessimism, sadness, and listlessness.
There’s repugnance now that wasn’t there before,
He’s bewildered and startled more and more.
There’s malaise and irritability,
To deny it spells smug naivete.
Since conquerors, it’s said, write history,
Let PTSD emerge from the periphery.
Its cure must become moral imperative;
Policy must make that prime directive.
And so the ingénue is now much older
Helping to carry burdens with her shoulders.
Annie Glenn, First Lady Martha, Mrs Stockdale:
Teach me, a vet’s wife, how to prevail…..

Mariecor Agravante is the wife of a former U.S sailor. She completed her first marathon in 2006 on Oahu, and quite enjoys MacGyverisms, chocolate-chip cookies, astronomy, and family vacations with her husband, their children, and their pets.

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