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Search for Meaning

by John Rodriguez

“I know myself,” he cried, “but that is all —”
This Side of Paradise

Do my actions make me right?
No god to guide and shelter me,
I strain, striving towards the light.

Kill and maim men through my sight,
inhuman targets fall, I feel recoil and glee.
Do my actions make me right?

In the chaos and dark pitch of the night,
choices made not thinking first of me,
I strain, striving towards the light.

Fought, tried to shelter with all my might,
but still led friends to their cemetery,
do my actions make me right?

Living well not death the bigger fright,
am I proud of the reflection I see
strain, striving towards the light?

I put my soul into the futile fight,
a struggle we lost over that damn valley.
Yet my actions make me right,
I strain, striving towards the light.

John Rodriguez was an infantry officer in the U.S. Army from 2006 to 2012. He served in Afghanistan as a Rifle Platoon Leader and Rifle Company Executive Officer in Kunar Province from 2008 to 2009.

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