Poetry from Amanda Dixon

The world is a jungle

The world is a jungle,
is what I was told.
This is what my father said to me
as long as I can remember:
Once a soldier,
always a soldier.

I didn’t know, when I was young,
that I was from a land of warriors.
How could I,
when I was surrounded by them
and that’s all I knew.
I hadn’t yet left
to see from the outside.

Looking back,
I might’ve been
the only little girl
obsessed with war movies,
playing toy soldiers,
held by an era.

Then, one day
I found a book
by a woman
who was the daughter
of a tunnel rat.
She knew what it was like
to have the war brought home to her.

You weren’t there, he said to me.
No, I didn’t have to be
because I lived through it with you
from the day I was born.

It wasn’t much talked about,
it was what was overheard —
all those generations,
the silent ones.

How could you speak
when there are no words
to describe horrors
and atrocities
that threaten
to destroy your soul.

It’s no wonder
the soul had to take flight
until it was called back in
gently coaxing, soothing,
but some never returned.

Soldier’s heart, battle fatigue,
shell-shock, ptsd, finally,
post traumatic growth.
Aren’t we all tired of it?
Hasn’t everyone suffered enough?

The ones who devoted their lives
to helping —
Gabor, Bessel and others,
The mother, the grandmother 
who prayed for all her sons. 

The relatives would whisper
but the children overheard —
He was never the same again,
they said.

Some wives woke up at night
to find their husbands
up in the trees outside,
the survivors,
not knowing,
why they’d been spared
but feeling dead.

As a child, I thought
that all hearts were purple,
that all uncles had shrapnel.

Isn’t it fitting 
that this daughter,
before she even realized,
would find herself
in tropical jungles,
drawn to them, in love with them,
a full circle of sorts,
but drawn with love,
a different kind of mission.

and along the way,
after a very long time,
she was surrounded by warriors again,
still too young to realize
and recognize
how familiar it all was.

It wasn’t sought out
yet somehow
the past alive and well,
never even really past,
as Faulkner wrote.

Where are the landmines?
they’d ask.
Yet this was a different battlefield.
It saddened me,
weren’t we supposed to be
in this together,
in harmony?

It became apparent that
these were all lessons,
they were all lessons.
It was all learning,
to witness, observe,
to experience.

I was told
that I was a soldier,
that I marched when I walked.

I’d like to say,
that this part of me died
and is long gone.

Some say
that heaven and earth are right here
on this very earthly plane. 

The long journey to Hades,
to the underworld,
full of archetypes 
as the mythology describes,
is an accurate portrayal
of the parts of us that
go to war within oneself —
That die,
That shed,
mimicking nature
to be transformed. 

It is said,
that when you heal yourself,
you heal seven generations back
and seven generations forward.

That is my practice,
That is my practice.
Every day,
every moment,
I am my own medicine.
You are your own medicine.

I now plant gardens,
not quite in the jungle
but close enough.

I build bridges
that connect
different people, languages and cultures,
a place to truly come home,
to return home
to my roots,
to my origins,
to my body
and to my heart.

3 thoughts on “Poetry from Amanda Dixon

  1. The World is a Jungle.. without forgetting that its wild and natural beauty has been tainted by homo sapien who only celebrates his criminal and feline instinct by seeking beauty by destroying, massacring, murdering left and right thanks to the kaffirs with stripes or with mitres who have us eaten up. Tarzan of the Apes already taught us this in his day; and King Kong already told us before dying riddled with bullets: “I die for your sins.”

  2. Oh Amanda, this is wonderful! Congratulations on the publication of this great work. This evoked all sorts of emotions in me, and I appreciate the work that went into it. Thank you for writing it! Blessings, Deb

  3. This is a powerful poem, Amanda. Thank you for writing and sharing it. You (and we) must continue to write to unravel the complexities that war has woven into the inter-generational chambers of our soul. Writing like yours has the power to renew souls and save lives – present and future.

Comments are closed.