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Nov 2010
Is this the place where garland grows,
Among the olive branches low?
Splattered, cindered, clay abode,
Am I so alien?
Encircled those, in khaki drab;
Paying homage to the bags;
Which hold remains of brave, young lads;
Will I feel again?

Surrounded, chains of un-lit lights,
Which only shine in day, not nights;
Illumination betrays the plights,
Should we become aglow.
A tree of polypropylene,
Adorns the tower, so serene;
A branch of steel hid in-between,
That only gunner knows.

The air of diesel, not of Myrrh,
As pre-fab dwellings start to stir,
Indifferent as they observe,
Fading of the Star.
A failed attempt at lone ‘SandMan’
Adorned with boots, bayonet in hand,
Iraqi winds displace his stand,
Re-formed in Kandahar.

T’was yesterday, on Christmas Eve;
A day ahead of promised leave,
When Paul, Eric, Mark and Steve,
Took leisurely patrol.
In Tikrit, where he was born,
Some sixty years before this ‘Storm’,
They’d set-out on this early morn.
Assessing evening’s toll.

Among the buildings, scattered ruins;
Charred men, like shadows, on the dunes;
From temples soar cremated plumes;
One hour had gone by.
In the distance, beyond the spire,
Come ‘reports’ of skirmish fire,
Incessant screaming of the dire;
Then screams dissolve to cries.

Approach, inside a city square,
Where once a fountain teemed, right there,
Smoldering flesh, low burning hair;
A family splayed together.
Rank and putrid pieces strewn,
Mother’s face, shrapnel-hewn;
Attending Allah far too soon--
All their hands were tethered.

Domestic dogs, now on their own,
Fight for human flesh and bone;
Such holy image sets the tone,
As chorus strikes ‘Jihad’.
Eric stumbles, exploded knee,
Bearing witness to comrades, three,
Souls reclaimed near instantly;
Christmas in Baghdad.

Is this the place where garland grows;
Among the olive branches low?
How I miss New England snow,
This Christmas in Baghdad.
Copyright, Fegger 2010
Written by
   Paul Butters and Mike Winegar
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