The Eggshell People

The Eggshell People live in an Eggshell World
with an eggshell mind in an eggshell house.
They teach their children to be kind,
they wouldn’t hurt a mouse.
But they would be horrified to find one
living in their eggshell house.
They’d buy a sticky board to bind him
or a trap to let him out.

The Eggshell people don’t teach their children about war
or the horrors in the world.
They protect themselves and children
by censoring every word.

TV shows are banned, violence not allowed.
Guns as toys discouraged,
they cling to religious vows
they inspire and they encourage,
their children are terrors to be around.

“Be yourself!”, they say, “Be free in what you do!”
But not too different, and they’ll enforce their rules on you.
To protect their Eggshell World and their eggshell ways,
they will do anything that they can,
shutting out the outside world.
Demanding you be like them.

“Don’t conform!” they say.  But don’t act different from them.
“We treasure individuality!”
As long as it’s indistinguishable from them.

But perhaps you were brought up different,
not in an eggshell world.
Where guns were allowed and horrors abounded
and by five you’d heard every cuss word.
Where the struggle for survival was a struggle to survive
beyond your eggshell world.

The Eggshell people.
Children so unprepared.
Live in ruin around them.
Blind to what they see,
denying all that is around them.
Protecting their culture from reality
in order to build a reality around them.
Like an eggshell world,
their dreams if it comes crumbling down on them.
When reality pokes through,
raising its ugly head,
when faced with pain and horror,
they shrink away in dread.

The Eggshell People.
I have spent my life defending them,
hiding them from the horrors,
telling them “all is all right”
while I died and cried along their borders,
patrolling the world, patrolling the night,
in distant far-off lands,
committing atrocities and horrors
they condemn and can’t understand.

The Eggshell people!
How I envy them,
their minor squabbles and their grace,
not knowing that I died fighting for them,
giving up happiness and my place
peace and contentment
to protect the world they see.
The Eggshell people might condemn me
but without me where would they be?

(the lament of a young soldier . . . a long time ago.)


Filed under Marine, Matthew

2 responses to “The Eggshell People

  1. aynetal3

    Today my Marine son is home … He lives in DC and we live in Chicago. It’s been a long time since seeing him and in the background he listens to a western … good guys and bad he’s always on duty even in relaxation. He’s in intelligence so almost everything about what he does is a secret. And, somewhere deep down … I thank the Lord that someone like him is protecting my eggshell life.

    Bravo!!! Excellent poem, but no condemnation.

    • I envy people with their ‘eggshell lives’. I don’t begrudge them that; however, I wish they would recognize ‘I’ wasn’t trained like them, I’m from a different culture “for a different time” – a difficult one, one of the worst ones imaginable: a thermonuclear war or major disaster of some kind. However, sometimes they get real insistent that everyone live like them; say no evil – acknowledge no evil – to protect their mind and child. And the fact is: it ain’t real, that eggshell world they build. It can come tumbling down at any time. For their sake and mine I hope it never does. How fragile those eggshells of mind.

      Tell your son “Ooo-RAH!” for me, shake his hand. This old Marine feels the training & PT are sooo much better (and in some ways tougher) than ours was in ‘the day’. But of course war has changed into a political machine, whereas when I went thru, well – a whole different world. We were taught “scorched earth policy” in which everything must die – from the enemy’s last chicken (which might feed him) to the woman by his side. And use his own children to terrorize him. (I was part of an elite group for some time: think ‘terror’.) The military called us ‘shock troops’ with the idea we would be so shocking the enemy would bolt & run (with us shooting them in the backs) or “die from fear” as our instructors said. And some of that training began early, as a military child. :/

      Yeah, he’s gonna have some secrets to bear, and some of them all of his life. I think every soldier has them, eventually. Either through regulation or morals. You have to ‘separate’ them, shove them into a little box in the rear, so to speak. It can be hard. Like little zombies things can come back to life and eat your brains.

      But once a Marine always a Marine – and for me, I bleed red, blue and white. Green, also (wry smile). Lord knows, I was a military child. Stuck around the stuff for 28 years. Sorta glad I’m ‘out’, but miss it as well. (wry smile)

      Until later.
      Jeff & friends.

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