Friday, 18 October 2013

Pulse Rates


Military lives are often summed up by two maxims; "Rush to wait" and "Months of boredom punctuated by a few minutes of intense activity."

This poem explores the juxtaposition between boredom and activity and the effect it has on the individual.

I hope you like it.

Pulse Rates

Crouched in the shade of a tree
pulse rate; fifty three.
I watch a goat herd amble by
as the sun climbs in the sky

Hid behind the tree
pulse rate; a hundred and sixty three.
Listen to rounds spin by
as the Taliban let fly.

Crawl away in the muck
pulse rate; who give a flying f*#@
Dust flies on the hillock nearby
as our gun team lay down heavy reply.

Lain on the bank of the Wadi
Pulse rate; a hundred and forty.
As we suppress; the left flank move
Terry Terrorist to remove.

Sat on a box back at base
Pulse rate; eighty eight.
We’ve been debriefed and had some scoff
Now it’s time to knock off.

Crashed out on a saggy camp cot
Pulse rate: quite a lot.
Thoughts keep flying through my head
Today, I was lucky, I’m not dead.

John Carré Buchanan
29 August 2011

36 comments:

  1. Well if we could just end all the meaningless wars, the whole earth will exhale quietly and stabilize its pulse rate!!

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    1. Hi Thotpurge, Thanks for your comment.

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  2. this has all the frankness of an honest war poem

    the pace is so perfectly real it draws the reader right in on every heart beat -

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    1. Hi Telltaletherapy, Thanks for your comment especially the heart beat part ;-)

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  3. Nice capture of those terrifying moments. Thank God, the pulse still beats.

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    1. Hi Sumana, Thank you for your kind comment.

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  4. The poem arcs through a battle zone inside a systolic engagement with terror. Daily the spike until the flatline. Well done.

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    1. Hi Brendan, Thank you for your comment.

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  5. Your last line describes perfectly how I felt yesterday after working outdoors all day, something that is almost foreign to this teacher!

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    1. Hi MMT, thanks for your comment, must have been some day!

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  6. You have described perfectly the horrors of atrocity and war.. its a miracle that the pulse still beats.

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    1. Hi Sanaa, Thank you for your comment.

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  7. I was right there with you. You wrote this so well, you made war real. I can see that soldier. Wonderful writing, John.

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    1. Hi Sherry, Thank you for your kind comment. I am glad you enjoyed the poem.

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  8. I cannot believe the things people go through in war... the way you plot the the action on a pulse line make it so real... especially the way you describe trying to calm down in vain.

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    1. Hi Brudberg, Thanks for your comment, I' glad you liked the 'pulse'.

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  9. Wow, you definitely have captured the feeling of being in battle & what the experience does to one's body! I am glad you ended up 'not dead.'

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  10. So rawly descriptive, John. Your ability to distill the emotions into rhyme without losing the intensity is remarkable. I do so love your work!

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    1. Hi Bev, Thanks for your comment, I am glad that you like my poems.

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  11. The pulse rate worked well here

    much love...

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    1. Hi Gillena, Thank you for your kind comment.

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  12. The pulse rate keeps this edgy, harsh, and very immediate,

    Elizabeth

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    1. Hi Elizabeth, Thank you for your comment.

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  13. I can feel the intensity of the up and down of battle...the waiting, the being under fire are felt in your lines....it is how my Uncle would describe war and battles to me...he was career military in 3 wars. It is a hard life and one I wish we did not have to have anymore...replaced with peace.

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    1. Hi Donna, Thank you for your comment. The military is also a very rewarding life, helping people in their hour of greatest need is something service personnel do which is often overlooked.

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  14. I could feel my heart rate fluctuating with each line. Edgy poem keeps one alert...

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    1. Hi Truedessa, Thank you for your comment.

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  15. wow that was so powerful and the pulse rate almost felt like a form of control to an out of control world. Good write

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    1. Hi Marja, Thank you for your comment.

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  16. I also come from a family of defense personnel and I can relate how it feels when your loved ones go to war front. e always cling on to the hope and pray to god for the best.

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    1. Hi Vandana, Thank you for your comment.

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  17. Good to read your work after hearing it at the O M evenings, makes the read even more emotive. (think that's the right word)

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    1. Hi Julian, thanks for your comment. Glad you liked the read as well as the listen.

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  18. Pulse rate to suit the situations. I liked the goats ambling over the hill in the sunrise. The reality of war involves a lot of fear and adrenalin I should imagine.

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    1. Hi Cressida, thanks for your comment. In my experience the fear of letting your mates down is the hardest.

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I really appreciate constructive feedback. If you are able to comment it would be most grateful.