Veteran

I went to war before I could vote
and no one seemed to think
it was either odd or unfair
not even me since I was just
a child at least in the eyes
of my parents if not the draft
board which did not worry or care
if I finished the twelfth grade
before I went to the killing fields
or skies since it did not matter
as long as I filled a place
in the quota for my county in
the opinion of the board of local
citizens many who had found meaning
in the first world war and thought
I should find worth in this second
one for colonies and race and to
assert that land and ethics vied
for significance in this conflict
so that selfishness and sacrifice
merged in the conflict in such
chaos that doing the right thing
was never that clear to the warriors
or even to the historians who
tried to put tidiness into human terms.
 


Howard Winn’s writing, both fiction and poetry, has been published by such journals as The Galway Review (Ireland), Dalhousie Review, Descant (Canada), Break The Spine, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, New York Quarterly, Southern Humanities Review, Raven Chronicles, Borderlands, Beloit Poetry Review, Xavier Review and Toyon. He is presently working on a novel dealing with Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation.” His B. A. is from Vassar College. He also has studied as an undergraduate with A. B. Guthrie, Jr. and John Ciardi at Middlebury College. His M. A. is from the Writing Program at Stanford University where he studied with Wallace Stegner and Yvor. Winters. He has done additional graduate work at the University of California San Francisco. His doctoral work was done at N. Y. U. He has been a social worker in California and currently is a faculty member of SUNY as Professor of English.