Regimented Soldier

Act, act, act.
Think, think, think.
Snap second decisions.
No time for feelings, that comes later.
The heart always comes last.

Its shoot or be shot.
Kill or be killed.
The emotional soft heart becomes emotionless in the name of survival.

You see your buddy laying wounded face up in the dirt.
Can’t stop, can’t feel, can’t help, can’t mourn, move on and keep going,
no time for tears.
Right now survival obsesses you mind.

Your brain is hard-wired, driven, focused, disciplined.
Preparing you for all you have to achieve.


Your comrades, your buddies have built a life-long bond that cannot be broken.
Blind trust, faith a family unit of sorts.

You understand exactly what is expected of you.
Where you should be.
What you should be doing at any given time of day.
Your life is regimented, mapped out.

What happens when you’ve done your time?
You leave this world you fully understand.
New world, new rules, new thoughts.
Time to make decisions, find yourself a niche.
But you need to reverse some of the hard drives anchored in your head.

Can that be done?
Not fully, I think, parts will always be there.
That depends on the strength of character of each man.

Cold eyes that have seen so much pain, you choose not to reveal.
The eyes don’t always match the happiness and pleasure you feel.
Look far beyond the eyes to see the true beauty of the person underneath.

The family man returns home.
Confused husband, father, son.
Confused wife, children, parents.
So much adapting, understanding and love needed.

You cannot regiment this life.
Children cannot be regimented, but a great leveller for you.
Life has gone on while you were away.
You have to make that change however hard.

The single man is sort of rootless.
Must be harder if he has no live-in framework to adjust to.

If you can’t adapt homelessnes is a possibility. Where does he go? where is the help?

Security, the police force are the main careers to go into.
They encompass the same high skills and disciplines the army demands.
High ambition, focused, high patience level.

Photography is a good hobby for a soldier.
It makes use of all those collected skills to create that certain image in your mind.
It allows you to work in an enviroment that matches your feelings at any given time.
It enables you to be at peace within yourself. A soothing balm.


Home again, friends and relatives are relieved their loved-one is safely back home in the fold.
Time for celebration and catch up.
Relationships to be renewed, others to be re-defined.
You are the same but different.

But for some the war hasn’t ended.
They now have time to relive the past good and bad.
Self-assesment is free to surface.

Nightmares, reliving scenes over and over again.
Could I have done things different?
Of course not, you had to make snap decisions.
That’s how you were trained.
You did your best.

You have sat with a dying soldier.
All you can give is the comfort your presence and words give.
But later how do you feel when you know he covered your back but you weren’t able to cover his?

Looking around you, everyone and everything must seem so shallow.
Our worries, needs and wants are indeed very shallow.
But its human nature to be like this, until ill-fortune hits us.
Then our priorities change as so they should.

Our children are being brought up without compassion for others or the world around them.
Just want the next big gadget.
The media installs and cements this into their mindsets too.

The child who has respect for nature,wildlife and human beings are ridiculed by their peers.
They learn to hide this side of themselves to fit in.
But these are the adults we want for our future.

Once you understand and love a soldier that feeling never really goes.

Regimented Soldier

Sandra Willis

Dagenham, United Kingdom

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 4

Artist's Description

Soldiers are three times more likely to commit suicde than anyone else. There have been fifty suicides while deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Eight took their lives during deployment. Forty two afterwards. We obviously need to be looking at their mental health before during and after their their Army Career. Only fair and right.

To the person who thinks i’m picky.
Have very high respect for you and always will. x

Artwork Comments

  • Bruce Jones
  • Sandra Willis
  • Paul Dean
  • Sandra Willis
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