My Son Rises Overseas

(a shadorma)

Foreign soil
soaked up his spilled blood
and dirtied
his burned flesh,
changing the landscape of his
body forever.

Paula Wanken

Shared at Poetic Asides for PAD 2015 – Day 25: Across The Sea

* Dedicated to all the Wounded Warriors (sons AND daughters)
who have risen from foreign soil.

Hero’s Highway

Hero's Highway; Iraq (Photo credit: Brandon Tull)

Hero’s Highway; Iraq (Photo credit: Brandon Tull)


Some who passed
through this tunnel were
carried. And
some did the
carrying. One thing is true:
They are all heroes.

2013-11-11 (Veterans Day)
P. Wanken





Written for Poetic Bloomings #128: Heroes Proved.  Also shared at “100 Days of Fall/Winter 2013.”  Also shared at Poetic Asides (2013 Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge Day 11: ekphrastic poetry).

** This tent was constructed as a connector between a helipad and the doors to the ER of a Base Hospital in Iraq. It became known as Hero’s Highway.

Fireworks On The Beach



Sand, everywhere.
Sulfur fills my lungs.
Even with eyes closed
I see the flash.
My heart feels
the reverberations.
Pop! Pop! Pop!
I remind myself
that I’m no longer
across the ocean
in a foreign land…
it is
Independence Day.

P. Wanken


Written for Poetic Bloomings “Life is a Beach” – Day 4: Fireworks On The Lake.

Journey Of Resilience

Today, with the inclusion of the word “resilience” in the word list, I couldn’t help but continue the story I started two years ago. See “process notes” following the poem for more details…


Nearly two years have passed
since my husband’s body
was shipped home
from the land of infidels.

That’s what they are, right?
Surely a war like this could not be
because of their true belief in God?

It was such a shock, at first.
To know that the love of my life
had been taken from me…

from that spot on the hill
where he had no shelter;
no protection from the barrage
of bullets; roadside bombs,
hidden, in wait for him;
there was no way out…

…and then to read the last words
he wrote to me. He wrote of
resilience. He was urging me
to not just survive, but to thrive.
I made that promise to him
as I read his words.

I’ve spent two years in the struggle
against letting these events harden
my heart and, for the first time,
believe he was right.

I am resilient.

P. Wanken


Inspired first by The Sunday Whirl #105: shipped, shelter, shock, bomb, promise, struggle, spent, infidels, land, resilience, against, thrive, and harden. However, the story really goes back to prompt #2 at The Sunday Whirl, for which I wrote the poem Resilient on May 1, 2011. Three months later, I continued the story with I Am Resilient.

Posted for day 50 in 100 Days of Spring – 2013.