08 May


Water Jug

Papa is in the garden

Weedin’ pullin’ sweat drippin’

Momma told me to “stop playin’

And go git him some water.”


I’m a big boy now,

Time to stop playing soldier

And help out with the growin’.


Grandpas ‘s in a wheelchair,

Grandma ‘s rockin’,

Momma ‘s peelin’ potatoes,

And baby cousin sleepin’. 


Time to stop playin’ soldier

And help out with the growin’.


Well is gittin’ dry,

Hard to keep pumpin’.

Big brother? died in Viet Nam.

Big sister? died in a country unknown.


Time for me to stop playin’ soldier

And help out with what’s bein’ grown.


Momma told me to “stop playin’,

Go get me some water too,

Don’t need you next,

to be leavin’ me alone.”




Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Children, Fathers, Mothers, Pine Cone Diaries, Poetry, war


Tags: , ,

53 responses to “War

  1. Sumana Roy

    June 7, 2015 at 8:29 am

    reading it again and still feel it to be as fresh…some childhood moments are eternal…


  2. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade)

    June 3, 2015 at 9:10 am

    I’m all for growing rather than soldiering!


  3. Torie

    June 2, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Very nice, ZQ. Brought back some good memories of my great grandpa tending to his garden and how we’d help him pull weeds. Of course we’d sneak a strawberry off the bush from time to time too, but only when he wasn’t looking (although he probably was 🙂


  4. humbird

    June 2, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Still love it! :)x


  5. Eileen T O'Neill

    June 2, 2015 at 1:53 pm


    A fine journey through a life experience…Not moment was wasted…nor boring.


  6. Magaly Guerrero

    June 2, 2015 at 11:44 am

    A poem to dance a melancholic step to…


  7. Vinay Leo R.

    June 1, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    It leaves a mark, that refrain. As if time keeps moving, you’re not changing, though you are being asked to change.


  8. totomai

    June 1, 2015 at 10:01 am

    remembered the first time i read it. same feelings i had…


  9. oldegg

    June 1, 2015 at 7:24 am

    What a wonderful poem and emotive reading you have given us.


  10. Chris

    June 1, 2015 at 6:16 am

    Like fine folk song lyrics!


  11. Marcoantonio

    June 1, 2015 at 5:51 am

    this had a feel and rhythm of ole’ mid-west tone. i can relate to the narrative. i was in the ’69 draft


  12. Suyash J

    June 1, 2015 at 3:16 am

    this has such a country blues feel to it


  13. Audrey Howitt

    May 31, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Loved this–the language, the feel of it–in my mouth and brain


  14. Truedessa

    May 31, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    I agree with Bjorn it does have a blues lyrical certainly has all the ingredients.


  15. Sherry Marr

    May 31, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Yes, it is a song…….I can hear the strumming.


  16. Mary

    May 31, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    I could see this being sung to a guitar accompaniment, ZQ.


  17. moondustwriter

    May 31, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Fantastic verse taking us from childhood to the realities of life – all it needs is a score.


  18. x

    May 31, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Very lyrical. A song really and a sad one. Too many kids growing up way too soon.


  19. Jamztoma

    May 24, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Hey GQ, I enjoyed the accent of the speaker of your poem here. I got a great laugh out of it and a bit of a tear too of the good ol’ times. smiles.


  20. Sherry Marr

    May 24, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Back for another read to enjoy it all over again! You have captured the dialect to perfection… the photo, too. Is that you?


  21. Sanaa Rizvi

    May 24, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    The repetitions make this piece even more heart-warming..!
    Loved this poem 🙂


  22. thotpurge

    May 17, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Read this over and over… something so touching about it..


  23. Jae Rose

    May 17, 2015 at 8:18 am

    What a powerful piece..war of any kind tears many things asunder..except maybe love?


  24. C.C.

    May 13, 2015 at 1:36 am

    Reading the deeper meaning in Momma’s words…, powerful stuff here. And the language style you’ve chosen to write this in….makes it that much more meaningful, authentic, heartfelt. Really well-written.


  25. glmeisner

    May 12, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Such a hard place you’ve described.


  26. wolfsrosebud

    May 12, 2015 at 10:14 am

    an intimate write… family is so tender


  27. Jae Rose

    May 12, 2015 at 8:43 am

    So very poignant…how childhood is so quickly changed…but still there is love and thankfulness flowing through this poem


  28. humbird

    May 11, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Love the time reflected in the language, in dialog. ~ Reading – mmm, another taste of the poem! appreciated much!


  29. Brother Ollie

    May 11, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    You have a solid little folk song here!


  30. Gillena Cox

    May 11, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Monday WRites is up, i invite you to link up

    have a good Monday

    much love…


  31. Panchali

    May 11, 2015 at 3:02 am

    A beautiful lyric poetry…lovely, ZO


  32. Jim

    May 11, 2015 at 1:10 am

    Enjoyable reading, ZQ, bringing memories back to me.
    It begins to sink in, the transition from little boy to helper boy. I began helping Dad milk cows when I was five or six. I was enticed into it the first time but the next day it, helping Dad milk, became a chore assigned to me.


  33. Susan

    May 10, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    I love this! Playing, playing soldier, leaving . . . .growing …. too many leave and can’t help with the growing! I like the changes in vernacular by age and character. Subtle anti-war is the BEST! Sad and effective!


  34. ManicDdaily

    May 10, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    A poignant poem–and wonderful for mother’s day, thanks. k.


  35. dani

    May 10, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    especially sad last lines! hard to be forced to grow up too soon.


  36. Tino Kritter

    May 10, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Sounds like a song. A song of remembering.
    Un écrit sensationnel.


  37. totomai

    May 10, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Like a song of any parents – the horror of war, how noble the intention is, will haunt the feelings of any parents.


  38. Donna@Living From Happiness

    May 10, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    That was the thing to do when we were growing up…brave heroes…soldiers….but we knew nothing of its horrors and dyin’….fabulous ballad!


  39. claudia

    May 10, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    it is tough when a childhood ends so quickly cause you need to grow up to help with the daily chores


  40. Grace

    May 10, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Nice, I like the refraining lines ~


  41. Sherry Blue Sky

    May 10, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    I remember when kids had to stop playin’, and start earning their keep! I suspect it was a useful lesson as we are still working fifty years later! LOL. I enjoyed this. I hear it accompanied by banjo music.


  42. Sumana Roy

    May 10, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    “Time for me to stop playin’ soldier / And help out with what’s bein’ grown.” love the refrain and what a lovely recitation ZQ!…much warmth is hidden in every line…


  43. vandana

    May 10, 2015 at 9:34 am

    great poem!


  44. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    May 10, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Still love it a second time.. Love the reading as well.


  45. Sanaa

    May 10, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Beautiful poem.. 😀


  46. Gillena Cox

    May 10, 2015 at 8:31 am

    luv the rythm of your words, and your repitition soothes somewhat, the tragedy of loss

    have a nice Sunday

    much love…


  47. kaykuala h

    May 9, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Things certainly move fast when one is in the growing up years. It makes one to think and act like an adult! One is not growing up alone!



  48. hypercryptical

    May 9, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Lovely write – and it does have the quality of a song.
    Anna :o]


  49. rosross

    May 8, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    And it does also make a perfect song.


  50. Mary

    May 8, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    I can really picture this, ZQ. You’ve really given this a Southern beat!


  51. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    May 8, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Oh I love this.. definitely a great blues feeling in this.. Is there an influence of Sterling Brown here?


  52. Abhra

    May 8, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Nice and heart warming piece – I like the use of repetitions very much.


  53. skipmars

    May 8, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Doesn’t much matter what kind. When I was a kid, we played Pork Chop Hill, and charged up a steep grassy slope with Mattel burp guns wop-wop-wop-wopping as the red tube at the barrel’s end worked back and forth in sexual innuendo. “War is hell,” said Sherman. He would know. Wonder how it got to change so over the years, from wood-carved rubber band hand guns to standard Army issue? From the steep hills to the tangled glades to the concrete canyons and school hallways? Juxt- tah – positioned.



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