A Persistent Muse

Born to stir the pot & punish the world for not paying attention

A Persistent Muse

A Persistent Muse
The Heart of the MIDWEST,
September 05
In real life I teach art, art history, drawing and painting at a private high school. I recently left my job teaching in an innercity high school. Bottom line: I love teaching and this is my 40th year doing so! I adore visual and verbal expression and the whole wrestling match of creativity. Do I have the idea or does it have me? I hope to become a better writer through my blogs and exposure to exceptional writers. My Avatar is based upon a Seraph/Angel I painted for a child in our family.


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NOVEMBER 11, 2010 10:24AM


Rate: 48 Flag


He wore his sweetness

like a mantle

and willingly bore

the kind of thoughtfulness

that comes from being

the man of the house

when your father dies

and you are just ten.


Buster donned a uniform

in the early 1950's

right after his mother

began bringing men home

(married or not)

for romance.

At 18, he left for Korea.


Within three months

the soldier boy awoke

facing another manchild

sent to kill him

as he slept in his tent

Wrestling, writhing


before a knife thrust

into his attacker's heart.


Rolling him over, 

he tried to stop the bleeding,

screaming for help,

watching his enemy's eyes

realizing he had killed

a boy of merely ten or twelve…

(Did I mention how much he loved children?)


Hospitalized for months

They treated him

and counseled him

and sent him home again...

(wounded beyond measure)

forever changed

walking drinking stumbling

through the days

and endless shadows


Until that night.

Two officers pulled him over

arresting him

(drunk and disorderly)

and booking him

(to sleep it off)

but forgetting to take his belt

(with the Marine Corps buckle)


In the morning,

the jailer found him

hanging in his cell…

free of the face

that had haunted him…

Far from the merciless


of the night

when both boys died

half a world away

near Pusan.   


© 2010 Rebecca Ann Pelley All Rights Reserved


Dedicated to those who serve, those who are lost, those who survive, those who do not, and to all who love them...and remember. And of course, to my sweet cousin, Clarence "Buster" Hart.

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Happy Veterans Day. This is raw and so rough around the edges...but it begs to be born, nonetheless. A story rarely told in whispers within my family. I haven't been able to shake the memory of him the last few days. Buster died long before he hung himself...died far away in a hot tent in all the ways that mattered most and in all the ways of being who he’d been so well before. I know that this is NOT an isolated story, and so I offer it to all the wounded...those who serve, those who wait and all who love. xo
This is such a beautiful and moving poem. Speaking in such compassionate tones about this lovely man and what happens to these lovely men when they are forced to do what they never imagined they would have to do.
rated with love
"in recognition of all the ways there are to die"

Yes: you do them all honor with your compassion.
This is sad, haunting, and beautiful all at the same time. Unfortunately, death comes in many forms, none of which are good, and some of which are horrid. R+
You see.. this poem should be on the front cover..
So well done and rated with hugs
What a story! What a reflection of how many suffer in many different ways because of war, and because they are soldiers. Sad. Thank you for this reminder. R
I think this is so beautiful and sad. It's a side of war that many people forget or choose not to think about. May your cousin rest in peace. R.
"Buster died long before he hung himself." Oh my God, that makes me weep. I think this is the best Veterans Day story I've read today. It is extremely raw, but brings it right home. I have a friend who served in Korea at age eighteena nd he is just now dealing with it. RRR for your humanity.
This is moving beyond words. Sorry we missed the hoped for coffee date this morning but seems we both had things that needed to be born today. Much love...coffee will be shared another time...soon.
And you told it with love...Thank you.
Hauntingly moving and vivid. You paint with words so very well!!!
What a tribute you give.
Thank you.
I have killed children.

What a horrible sentance to be able to write. I know what Buster was seeing when he closed his eyes....I have seen the same thing. Rest in Peace, Buster Hart.
This is chilling, tragic and true, Persistent.

I think of the John Prine song, "We lost Davey in the Korean War, I still don't know what for ..."

I was much older when I learned (through TV) what a Godforsaken hell Korea as ...
Ooops, should read ...what a Godforsaken hell Korea was ...
Powerful, heartwrench acknowledgement of the suffering of war.
Muse, this just grabbed my heart and squeezed. I acknowledge Veteran's Day...I can't bear to call it happy.
Heartbreaking, as war always is.
"Did I mention how much he loves children?" This is where your poem came home. All of it is haunting and beautiful.
Bravely told and powerful.
This was gorgeous and ... POETRY.

Can't say much more cause I'm speechless.
Korea is such an excruciating memory for so many. We go to war and then the pain lasts for a generation. I wish CNN would have mentioned this along with the vigil waiting for the bombs to drop on Baghdad when the Iraq war began. Thanks for this contribution.
When old men sit around their desks deciding about war and how much they can make from it, they figure in the estimated losses of men. What they can't figure up because it's impossible to do is to count up the men who lives they have screwed up for the rest of their live's. They cannot figure up how each man effects many people and it's not just this one man but millions that are effected by these old men deciding on WAR!
I had a friend...same scenario, Viet Nam War...I found jim OD'd...It is good to reach out to these walking wounded in the homeless shelters, VA Hospitals, etc. Killing a child is perhaps the hardest to recover from. Remember the Vets! However you feel about war...
I have used the phrase before that "there are worse things than death." Buster Hart lived it. For those death is the only release from the pain and that makes it all the sadder and emotive. Thank you for this story which, in my opinion, is far from rough and raw.
Beautiful, sad and moving. Your cousin would be proud.
So sad what we do to our children before, during and after war surrounds them.
Thank you, Muse, for this dedication to the people carrying open wounds that we may not see, and for their loved ones.
sigh. Your title is perfect for such a haunting piece.~r
I have no words. Just tears. ~R
Made me want to take a belt and hang my heart....
One of the best I've read today. You say "This is raw and so rough around the edges...but it begs to be born, nonetheless" I am so glad it was born but I disagree about the raw and rough part. It needs to be this way to go straight to the heart. Thank you for this.
This is gorgeous, Persistent. Thank you for reminding me. xox
R, and no need to comment, it is perfect as it stands.
You have a good heart in the right place.
I'm glad you wrote this, I can't say it's beautiful because it's too much of a horror no matter what words you use. It's the truth and I'm grateful you wrote something so heartrendingly true. I'm sorry for your loss no matter how long ago.

Torman, I'm sorry, if I could wish or pray it away from you I would. I'm glad you're here, glad you are alive still and able to write those words.

I hold within me the knowledge that I am in part guilty for the people who have to kill or be killed today.
Wow. What an incredibly sad and real poem. [R]
Very moving and an interesting choice of font.
Best wishes,
A fitting tribute on Veteran's Day to Buster. A beautiful poem that is anythign but rough and raw around the edges. It is finished and polished and tells Buster's tragic story so well. It is a story in a poem that so many have experience but has needed to be told, just in the way you have expressed it.
Buster's story is sadly beautiful and the best I've read on this Veteran's Day.
To: lschmoop, Gerri, Blittie, Mamakaze, Lheure, Algis, Oryoki, Robin, Trilogy, Mary, Tink, Veronica, Doireann, Joanie, Clay, Lunchlady, Cranky, Pastvoices, Patrick, Scanner, Bill, Fernsy, Matt, Heidibeth, Jonathan, Shawn, Sweetfeet, Fay, Sophie, Scarlett, Torman, Squeezing, Stacye, Mime, Bernadine, Alysa, Sheila, Linda, Dave, Kate, Cathy, Pilgrim, Mark, and RomanticPoetess! I want to thank you all for stopping and reading and feeling this piece. Thanks because it feeds me and frees me simultaneously to see your generous comments. Its so interesting that sometimes something gets hold of you and won't let go until it flows out into print. The fact that I was able to communicate this story to you all is important and valuable to me. My mom and brother and another cousin are the only ones left to remember Buster...now you do too. Life requires a witness. Many many thanks to you all for the gifts of your time and care!
Wow! So dark and sadly shards of truth. I like the phrase "begs to be born." I feel that so often when I write.
Unbelievably aching. The way you have set this up with just the raw beautiful telling of the story brings even more emotion to the story. I am sorry I missed this. Excellent poem.
Hum... B.... I liked it but... you made me cry dear....
It´s a beautiful piece.. thank you for inviting me here... I so much apreciate that you didn´t let me miss it...
Rated for heartfelted
Hugs and love
Oh such a heartbreaking, powerful poem and what a sweet tribute to Buster. May he -- and so many other wounded beyond measure--rest in peace.
oh man. Brilliant. Just heartbreakingly brilliant...