Brutal Game of War

Donald A. Chase

Donald A. Chase lives in Massachusetts.  He joined the US Army Reserves in 1944, and later enlisted in the regular army.  Chase served with the 89th Infantry Division in Europe during The Second World War, and re-enlisted at the outbreak of the Korean War. He arrived in Korea in 1951. Wounded three times during the war, Chase was discharged in 1953.

"Prisoners of War"

Off to one side and silent
they sat with downcast eyes.
Not knowing what their fate would be,
or whether they would live or die.

One had blood dripping down his face,
from a bullet crease in his head.
Another’s arm hung mangled,
with its bandage stained bright red.

The third had feet discolored,
in sneakers that were full of holes.
His toes all swollen and useless,
frozen stiff by the winter cold.

They were enemy soldiers,
yet human like you and I,
and one couldn’t help but notice,
the pain in their anguished eyes.

That scene of pain and misery,
which has defied the passage of time,
Is another unwanted souvenir,
from a war that left scars in the mind.

 

 

"Brutal Game of War"

First there is a scream for a medic,
but too late, so a soul must yield.
To the whistling death of the bullets,
that criss-cross the battlefield.

Still others shake and tremble,
as deadly shells crash down,
but a certain sense of honor,
makes them hold their ground.

Sometimes the fighting is savage,
so bodies lie in heaps,
and some will always question,
was the price too steep?

Yet when the battle is won,
there is a feeling of great pride.
Although you cannot see it,
because it’s something that’s inside.

So many times this happens,
in the brutal game of war.
That all who have endured it,
are changed forever more.



Questions for Reflection: “Prisoners of War” and “The Brutal Game of War”

  1. How might you describe the emotions felt by a prisoner of war?
  2. How does Chase in “Prisoners of War,” describe the conditions of the prisoners? What are his feelings toward them?
  3. How does Chase explain the exhilaration of winning a battle in the poem, “Brutal Game of War?”
  4. What is the fall-out of participating in the “brutal game of war?”

 

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