Two Poems by Duane L. Herrmann

Warrior Poet Worries

What if…

If the pilot forced
to fly enemy plane
is his country’s
next great composer –
and I bring him down?

If that soldier
in my line of fire
is the world’s
next great poet –
and I kill him?

If that ship
my torpedo’s heading toward
has the greatest painter
of the century –
when his ship sinks
and he drowns?

How much will I pay?

Time Healing

A boy in a battle zone
of a war he did not want,
and could not win,
just trying, trying
to stay alive, saw
on hometown news,
a classmate arrested
for protesting the war.
‘Bastard,’ soldier thought,
‘His actions insult mine.
I’d kill him if I could.’

Decades and traumas later,
the two met.
Protester braced for
retaliation, but
former soldier said,
“I know now,
you just wanted us home.”

Duane L. Herrmann is an internationally published, award-winning poet and historian. His work has been translated into several languages and published in a dozen countries, in print and online. He has seven full-length collections of poetry, a sci-fi novel, a history book, and more chapbooks. His poetry has received the Robert Hayden Poetry Fellowship, inclusion in American Poets of the 1990s, Map of Kansas Literature (website), Kansas Poets Trail and others. These accomplishments defy his traumatic childhood embellished by dyslexia, ADHD, a form of mutism and, now, PTSD. He spends his time on the prairie with trees in the breeze and writes – and loves moonlight!