Unencumbered Time

TLH, 2012 (photo courtesy of Jes Walker)


gone are my days
of hopscotch, hide-n-seek,
and colored streamers
on bike handles;
shadows shifting in shape,
as days blend one into the next,
with the only purpose
of providing a backdrop
for navigating through
unencumbered time

now my days are filled
with hopping from planes,
seeking out the enemy,
and wearing our colors
on my shoulder while I stand watch,
as days blend one into the next,
with the purpose
of preserving freedom
for my kids and their
unencumbered time

P. Wanken

inspired by all the moms and dads who serve our country to protect our freedoms


  1. Paula! Such a wonderful contrast in timeframes and purpose. Love that phrase “unencumbered time” thank you for putting your talents to honor those that fight for our right to write 🙂


    1. I sure wish we didn’t have such things as war…but I am so proud of our men & women who wear our country’s uniform. This poem didn’t go where I thought it would…but as I wrote, I glanced over at a picture of a friend of mine, in uniform, and the words took me in the direction they did.

      Thanks for your encouragement and support.


  2. Gripping, emotive, and a wonderful way to honor these selfless defenders. Like Sara, I love the contrast in time frame and purpose (perfectly put, Sara). Thank you for this, Paula.

    Marie Elena


    1. Thanks, Margo… “unencumbered time” was a phrase that kept rattling around in my head…I’m glad I found some more words to put with it! And yes…to finding more of that kind of time…


  3. Well structured. The contrast between “colored streamers” and “wearing our colors” really got to me. Very powerful. And how you come back to “unencumbered time”. This is strong writing.



    1. Richard:
      Thank you. I tried to give the interests of youth a correlating image in the second stanza…the one you mentioned is my favorite of the three.


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