Poetry Break: “Let Me Tell You How I Died” – The Missing

You know, I was so excited to post this yesterday for 11/11, but sometimes things don’t go as they ought! I took a bit of a tumble off the kitchen counter (always use a step ladder, folks) so I spent yesterday dealing with a broken wrist instead! However, my thoughts still often turned toward the day itself and what it means to me. Not just the overwhelming debt I feel towards all veterans, but also the end of WWI. When my husband and I went to Belgium last year, we visited the Menin Gate. Seeing all those names struck me to my core. I couldn’t even say a word the whole time we were there. I could only look at all those names and think of what each one represented. A family shattered. Hearts broken. So many tears. And the questions. Because many times in WWI and a lot of other conflicts, loved ones don’t even have the closure of knowing what happened to their fallen soldier. So, as part of my ongoing poetry series, this one is for the missing. 



The Missing

Try as you might, but you won’t find me

Because when I died, there was no one to see

I was just one soldier in this sea of death

Just one in a million, my dying breath

You’ll find my name on some lists here or there

“Missing in Action, but we’re not sure where”

You’ll search and you’ll search, you’ll scour the ground

But there wasn’t a trace of me left to be found

You’ll go to an office and bang on the door

You’ll sit in a waiting room, you’ll pace the floor

You’ll pour out your heart in a letter or two

But they can’t really tell you what you should do

No closure is hard, I can sure understand

But this was a war that consumed the whole land

Every battlefield was covered in bones

So many men from different places and homes

And I was just one that passed through those years

Your sobs count for few in an ocean of tears

Because I’m just one name on a huge roll call

One Unknown tomb will have to count for us all

To Be Continued…

To Read Part II segment 1, click here.

For Segment 2, click here.

Segment 3, here

And remember… always use a step ladder! 


95 Comments on “Poetry Break: “Let Me Tell You How I Died” – The Missing

    • Thank you so much! Yes, it strikes me that as potent as each tear is, so, so, so many more were and are still shed! 🙁

  1. This poem is beautiful and sad. It has set me to wondering how many soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom will never be found. I am sure they were found on the highway to their eternal resting place. Thank you for sharing your poetry. Heal up fast so you can share more!

  2. A fine poem commemorating those MIAs that we’ll sadly never have closure with. ‘Never forget.’
    Hope your wrist heals quickly – you have my sympathy, not a fun way to spend the holiday season. 🙁

    • I’m just glad I didn’t need surgery!! 🙂 So glad you liked the post, thank you for your kind words.

      • Amen to that…I’ve had two friends that had to undergo surgery, one after weeks, discovering it “wasn’t healing right.” Ugh!

      • Yes the docs warned me to not use the whole arm much at all. So I don’t need surgery down the line for not healing right!

  3. Great poem! I think it captured the unsettled feeling of not ever knowing – not ever having closure. Now, I have to go back and read your other poems! Thanks for sharing and caring about all the unfound souls, their sacrifices, and their families! I hope you heal quick! (I always climb on counters…..now, maybe, I’ll think twice and use a step ladder!) Thanks!

    • Oh please please use a step ladder. This is no fun! 🙁 Thanks so much for your very kind words. They took some of the pain out of a broken wrist! 🙂

  4. Lovely words. Enjoyed the poem immensely. So sorry about your fall. Broken bones are not fun at all. Take it easy and heal quickly, please. 😊

  5. MB, like the rest of your poem, this part eloquently evokes the tragedy of war. But it goes further in expressing the anguish of those who never have remains to mourn over; those who always have some tiny hope in the back of their mind that perhaps it isn’t true. But no matter how many tears are shed, these too will never return.

    • Yes, it’s beyond tragic. I really wish we could figure out other ways to solve our difference. We’re going to have to! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

    • I’m afraid I’m a lefty and that is the wrist that is broken 🙁 However – I’d consider myself more ambidextrous. Lefties often have to be! 🙂

  6. I love the way you are keeping this going. There is much to say about those lost, their families and what it all means. So sorry about your fall! Wishing you a speedy recovery.

    • So glad it moved you! And thanks for the well wishes. I’m trying to baby it extra to get the cast off in four weeks instead of six!

  7. Wonderful read MB 🙂 except for the broken wrist bit. My bestie fell of a chair cleaning windows breaking her scaphoid bone. I didn’t know she was on a chair otherwise I would have gave her “the look” and gotten the step ladder she hates

    • Oh dear, that doesn’t sound fun at all! Yes, I really have no excuse. I should have got the step ladder. My husband has always “encouraged” me to use it haha. Now his point has been made. And I will always use it from this point on, that’s for sure.

      • Yes you will. I have also made sure the step ladder rule is used when I am at her place. I am glad you will be good MB 🙂

  8. So sorry about your broken wrist, MB – hope you recover in time for Christmas. It is beautiful prose and it reminds us how very many servicemen and women died in so many wars.

  9. Your poem’s touching without being sentimental: not always an easy thing to accomplish. I especially liked these lines:

    “No closure is hard, I can sure understand

    But this was a war that consumed the whole land.”

    The other side of that particular coin is that, at least in WWII, entire countries joined together in extraordinary ways, sacrificing to bring the war to an end. We’re consumed in a different way today, and I hope that some joining together can finally take place.

    I’m in the process of getting ready to move, and I’ve been hauling a step ladder hither and yon. After reading about your experience, I intend to be even more careful. I hope your healing’s quick and easy.

    • I’m glad to hear you’re using a step ladder! I sure will from now on. Yes I would love to see us all join together a little more. All this division is both scary and heartbreaking to see. Thanks so much for coming by and sharing your thoughts. <3

  10. Sorry to hear about your mishap – I hope your wrist is healing well.

    Your piece almost made me weepy. To be missing in action and for the family to have no real sense of closure would be agonizing.

    This poetry series certainly does put a lot of things in perspective for me. Thank you.

    • I’m so glad that you are enjoying it. The missing indeed is a very tough topic, I can’t imagine never knowing. It’s hard enough to find peace when you do know! My wrist is healing as it should – according to my check up today! 🙂 Thanks for the well-wishes.

  11. Love your heart for those who’ve vanished alone, MB, and for those who’ll never know. And sorry to hear about the broken wrist!

    • Thank you! 🙂 It’s definitely a big part of my mission as a writer to give a voice to those lost. And yes the broken wrist is no fun, especially since I’m a Southpaw.

  12. sorry about your fall, hopefully it’s taught you to be more careful … swift healing 🙂

    This is deeply touching, very moving. War is such a waste of lives …

  13. My mother’s first husband died in the Pacific when his ship was sunk by the Japanese. She married my father in 1948 and here I am born 3 years later. My life is a fortuitous event built upon a terrible tragedy. On Thanksgiving Day I am sometimes at a loss of what to feel.

    • Oh goodness – what a family history for you. I can certainly understand why you would be at a loss sometimes. I wish I knew what to say to expel the what-ifs, but I think you said it best. “A fortuitous event built upon a terrible tragedy.” I’m sure you were a great comfort to your mother after such a loss.

  14. No closure is hard, even for later generations. I have a greatuncle who went missing in action during ww2 in Turkey. He left, never came back, and no one ever heard anything back about him. To this day, we wonder, did he die, or did he leave, get married, have children?
    Anyway, sorry to hear about your wrist. It’s been a while, so i hope it’s all better now.

    • I am so, so sorry about your great uncle. I can’t even imagine your family going through that and the lingering questions. My wrist is on the mend, thank you so much for your thoughts! I actually got to get my cast off today in a big surprise! 🙂 They thought I would need it four six weeks but I only needed it for four!

    • Yes! Lol modern day war zones!! The kitchen in general seems to be a bad spot for me. Thanks so much for asking, I am definitely on the mend!

    • Well, I am a Southpaw which made the break an extra bummer, but we lefties often have to cope and adjust in a right-handed world, so I already had a lot of practice with my right hand! 🙂

  15. Wow, your poems stir up such powerful emotions. Thank you for sharing. Hope you got through Thanksgiving holiday and meal without too much stress on your wrist. Was your break on your dominant arm?

    • Glad to have you read it and share your thoughts! It was my dominant arm – but I’m happy to say that I went in for a checkup Monday, and the doctor said it was healing very well and he took the cast off early! 🙂 I still have to wear a really big brace and have some restrictions but I’m much more able to get by now.

  16. Wonderful! The Menin Gate is a very special place, It means a great deal that it has touched you. Hope your wrist is better by now – I’m a little late to the show!

    • Im so glad we got the chance to visit! My wrist is coming along, thank you so much for asking! Hope you have a merry Christmas and happy holidays!

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