"You Would Not Recognize Me."

You would not recognize me
if you were to see me in the street.
I have changed, not merely outwardly,
but inwardly my soul is being molded.
I am someone different.
Forgive me, but please, don’t forget me.
I was insolent in my youth.
Brash, wild, defiant.

So I must ask, why did you still love me?
The world held me captive.
It fastened my feet
with ropes forged from my own desires.
I was dragged down into cold waters
and left to suffocate.

You will never hear these words.
We will never see each other again.
I have vanished from that world,
that world we grew up in,
that world we loved in.
The ropes have been severed from my feet.
The starry heavens, so immense in their grandeur,
call to me, an irresistible invitation.

You think me foolish, no doubt.
What are these words but an incoherent plea
that I long for you to hear?
But I know you won’t.
A soldier knows when it's his time.
It’s a feeling,
that festers in the mind and heart.

I see the world for what it is.
I see my sins in their mangled shapes.
Yes, I want to go back and rewrite it all.
But I can’t.
I see my life before me,
and those I left behind.
My heart wages a war inside my chest.
My breath quickens and my blood turns cold.
And I know.

From the temporal haven of the foxhole,
I see the stars erased by the waking dawn.
They wink at me.
They say goodbye.
Someone shifts beside me and moans,
lost in a forest of haunted dreams.
The barrel of my gun is cool against my hands,
as a machine gun kills the morning calm.
Plumes of smoke rise like incense into the sky,
and turn into hands of death, reaching for its victims.

I won’t come home.
Please, don’t expect me to.
But don’t mourn over the boy
whose soul once wandered in vice.
I’m not that boy any longer.
I falter and I fail,
but now I believe and I hope
for what lies behind the starry skies.
Dear Vi, you’ll never know these words.
But I pray you’ll know them
in your own soul.

By: Emily Ann Putzke


  1. That's a beautiful poem, Emily!!


  2. Oh, Emily! I love this piece. The way you are able to illustrate war is so heartbreakingly gorgeous, and it is so evident that you have a passion for this subject. Never stop.

  3. Wow, so beautifully haunting. That last stanza finished it off so well, too. Thanks for sharing your work with us. :)

  4. Love, love, love!! You are so talented!!! I love Rilke too but reading him doesn't magically make me a great poet :)