Still working on a title (suggestions welcomed).


What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Or having the ability to wash itself,

or tie a shoe?


For me, it is but temporary, a mere blip.


But what about those whose loss is more permanent?

Those who have lost an arm? A leg? More?

And the unseen wounds of war? The PTSD?

for those twenty and thirty year old kids?

The time away from family

in deployment after deployment

The experiences of the battlefield,

friends and foes alike lying in their own blood,

with their own losses.


“They volunteered,” the old white men say, the ones

too old to do battle themselves.


Complaints fall on deaf ears as the soldiers are sent

again and again

to Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and beyond.


“Let’s send in ground troops,” the hawks say, the ones

who rake in the profits,

never considering the loss to


to dads missing births, mothers missing first steps,

parents missing the milestones of life,

to children missing a mother’s kiss,

a father’s hug.


What is the sound of one hand clapping?

The feel of a hand unable to cup a child’s chin?


Nancy Brady, (copyright 2016)




About pedometergeek

A pharmacist by profession, a haiku poet by nature, I read and write. I have a book of haiku, Ohayo Haiku, and another somewhat alternative haiku book, Three Breaths, but write other genres. I also read...lots of novels! My favorite is, and remains, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged but I am also a big Harry Potter fan. I truly am a pedometer geek strapping on my pedometer as soon as I awaken.
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9 Responses to Untitled

  1. rebbthoughts says:

    Shared sentiments. This is beautiful, Nan.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so beautiful, moving, and provocative, Nan. Really lovely. I wish I had a decent title suggestion for you, but the only word that keeps coming to me as I read this is “Tacet”…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Barbara for the compliment on my poem. I have to admit you had me scurrying for the dictionary to look up “Tacet” as I was unfamiliar with it, but I rather like it in this context. Your suggestion may just become the title (or a part thereof).


  3. Nan, this is lovely and heartbreaking. I’m always intrigued by the individual, the unique story, and your poem captures that so well. I like simple especially when the subject is so complicated so title. . . One.


  4. julespaige says:

    “Applause” or even just “One Hand” or maybe “One Hand Clapping”

    I think it is a rare thing to have any family escape the loss of a life by service. Whether the person comes home or not… And it is the ones who are not boastful, who say so little that hold in so much…that need the most.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, JP. Just read Kristin Hannah’s Home Front (after I wrote the poem), and it was heartbreaking and reiterates what you wrote. Totally worthwhile reading, and I recommend it to anyone who has or knows someone serving in the service.
      Hope you and your family had a wonderful 4th. ~nan

      Liked by 1 person

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