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O Sorrow In My Soul
By Neal T. Lesh

O sorrow in my soul
for the grieving widow
who kneels by the side of the grave.
Under overcast skies,
with tears in her eyes,
she knows now she'll have to be brave.

With trembling hand,
she touches the stand
with the American Flag and a vase.
Looking down at the name
she tries hard not to blame
someone else for the future she'll face.

O sorrow in my soul
for this sad scene below,
as I gaze from the top of the hill.
With hot tears on my face
I watch from this place,
while the cold rain gives me a chill.
 
O sorrow in my soul
for a nation so cold,
 It's forgotten the promises made.
And for the veterans who fought,
has it all been for naught...
just a debt that will never be paid?
 

We have funds to wage war,
yet, what makes me so sore
is how little we care for our Vets.
You don't hear them complain,
and they'd do it again…
for their country they have no regrets.

There are those who will say,
"Why do I have to pay?"
"Let them fend for themselves" you will hear.
They all seem to forget
one's capital net
would be "nil" had our Vets not been there.

O sorrow in my soul
for our fallen heroes,
lying ‘neath the verdant covered ground.
And the ones who still live,
who would like to believe
 Abe Lincoln's words still resound.

 "……With malice toward none; with charity for all;  with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in: to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan---to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

These words still ring true,
No, it's not just my view,
there are hundreds of thousands like me.
Don't let a dollar be saved
at the expense of our brave
who have fought for your right to be free.

O sorrow in my soul
for the grieving widow
whose face is all wet from the rain.
As she walks toward the gate,
looking back at her mate,
does she wonder…has it all been in vain?

Tonight I had an opportunity to go through the Arlington Website and was very pleased to know that there was a portion dedicated to poetry.  I am a 63 year old retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer, having spent twenty years in the military from 1957 to 1977.

In 1981 I developed prostate cancer, which was subsequently treated in 1983 with I-125 radioactive Iodine implants.  Following the surgery and for the next nineteen years, I developed severe chronic pain from damage caused by excessive radiation.  Last October 2001, I learned that my cancer has returned.  Currently, there is no cure for recurrent prostate cancer, only treatment to slow down the growth process.  My most recent bone scans have showed a progression into my pelvic bone in two separate areas.  I am treated with a transdermal patch that uses a strong base narcotic released over a period of three days.  I also take additional pain medication for breakthrough pain that occurs only too often.

But this is not the reason I am writing you.  Over time, I have been under the care of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA.  My home is twenty-five miles from the hospital and I have been a patient there quite often.  While on an extended stay at the hospital I picked up a book called "Veterans Voices", a publication sponsored by the Veterans Administration for veterans who would like to have their poetry or stories published.  Since I had time on my hand, I decided I would try my hand at writing poetry.  Many of my submissions were subsequently published in "Veterans Voices".  One of those, which happens to be a favorite of mine, was selected by the Wilkes-Barre VAMC staff to be submitted to the VA as part of a program to recognize Veterans who have participated in Arts & Crafts. Although it did not win in the national competition, it remains a favorite among the veterans and friends who have viewed my poetry.

Posted: 2 November 2002