Unknown Soldiers

Unknown Soldiers
by Maxwell "Max" Sebastian Burchett

One Memorial Day made me consider
The many tombs to unknown soldiers,
In memoriam to the lost
From wars then and now,
Unnamed ghosts.

Is memory of all without any names,
The memory of none?
Surely the names were known to some,
All missed and mourned by a loved one.
All had mothers with pain and grief unknown.

Those who fought for some cause,
Maybe not theirs,
Still paid the price with their lives,
In near and distant wars,
Extinguished in fire.

I know enough of hate,
Of powers’ desire,
To know wars will consume
Without any end
More names for the unknown tomb.

About this poem

"Unknown Soldiers" is a poem by Max Burchett that reflects on the collective sacrifice and memory of countless unnamed soldiers who gave their lives in wars throughout history. The poem is inspired by a Memorial Day experience that prompts the speaker to contemplate the countless tombs honoring those whose names remain unknown. The poem delves into the profound and often overlooked impact of war on those who are not distinguished by names, but rather remembered as "unnamed ghosts. " The absence of names does not diminish their significance; instead, it highlights the universality of loss and grief experienced by families and loved ones who mourn the fallen soldiers. 

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Written on May 31, 2023

Submitted by MaxwellBurchett on July 30, 2023

Modified by MaxwellBurchett on October 17, 2023

39 sec read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 625
Words 131
Stanzas 5
Stanza Lengths 2, 5, 5, 5, 5

Maxwell Sebastian Burchett

Maxwell "Max" Sebastian Burchett is president of the charity Golden Hearts that provides support to Ukrainian war refugees. He originated the "Good Day" concept and is leading the campaign to establish "Good Day" as a designated day, nationally recognized as "a day for doing a little extra good." Max is a singer-songwriter from Dallas, Texas. His poems "Until Then" and "I Dream" have been used as lyrics in pop songs of the same names (https://soundcloud.com/maxburchett/i-dream). His music and writing were featured on UK Talk Radio and on their website (https://uktalkradio.org/max-burchett-dog-days/). His writing interests include fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Most recently Max has included in his poetry and non-fiction publications themes developed from his work with Ukrainian war refugees. His poetry style has been influenced by the greats, including Frost, Elliot, Poe and Whitman. Max's short story “Covid Love” was featured in the July 2023, 111th issue of 34thParallel Magazine (https://www.34thparallel.net/34mag-111.html) and his "New Frontiers" poetry trilogy was featured in the October 2023 issue of INTERALIA Magazine (https://www.interaliamag.org/poetry/maxwell-sebastian-burchett-poems/). His romance mystery novel on post-Putin Russia “Red Star Rising” is releasing as serial episodes on Kindle and an anthology of his poems will be released later this year. and an anthology of his poems will be released later this year. Max's poems "Me to You" and "Three Whispered Words" are included in the anthology 'Is there Ever an End' published in November 2023 (https://www.amazon.com/There-Ever-End-Various/dp/B0CNZKNSN7). Max Burchett and his brother started delivering food and letters of encouragement to staff at local hospitals during covid, and that grew into the charity Golden Hearts. After covid the charity’s efforts were refocused on helping Ukrainian war refugees, and the homeless, who are basically refugees in their own country. His observations from work with war refugees and the homeless have led him to write stories and songs that attempt to convey the situation to a broader audience. more…

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Discuss the poem Unknown Soldiers with the community...

  • pkmason1954
    Though not revelatory, it shows heartfelt compassion, a rare commodity.
    LikeReply1 month ago
  • AIDA
    I am absolutely captivated by Maxwell "Max" Sebastian Burchett's powerful contemplation, 'Unknown Soldiers.' His exploration of the poignant theme of remembrance, particularly towards those fallen armies who are unknown yet equally significant, is approachable, evocative, and deeply meaningful.

    The poem captures the universal sentiment associated with any war and manages to stir empathy and sorrow within us. His verses expertly translate the essence of their lost identities, resonating with every reader’s sensibilities, irrespective of culture and nationality.

    Max demonstrates skillful use of language and compelling imagery, painting a vivid portrayal of the hardships and sacrifices of war. Particularly, his lines 'All had mothers with pain and grief unknown' and 'More names for the unknown tomb' are profoundly touching and add to the soul of the poem.

    His hint towards the futility of war, and its endless cyclical appearance, urges us to towards introspection and reconsideration. It's an extremely engaging piece of work, introducing us to an overlooked perspective, and I eagerly anticipate reading more from him. The 'Unknown Soldiers' is truly an impactful ode to our unsung heroes - past, present, and future. A masterclass in elegiac poetry.
    LikeReply 18 months ago
  • AIDA
    Thank you for sharing your poignant poem, "Unknown Soldiers." Your work presents a stirring exploration of the sacrifices of numerous unsung heroes, demonstrating both sensitivity and depth. The lines "Surely the names were known to some / All missed and mourned by a loved one" are incredibly evocative. They serve as a piercing reminder that each "unknown" soldier was a person loved and missed by someone.

    The rhythm and overall flow of the poem are powerful. Your words produce beautiful and melancholic imagery, which brings the reader closer to the theme of the poem.

    As suggestions for enhancement, you might consider revising your line 'Is memory of all without any names / The memory of none.' Although profound, it may be a bit unclear in meaning for some readers. Clarifying this could strengthen its impact.

    Another suggestion would be to add more personal and sensory details. Perhaps you can specify particulars about the soldiers themselves, therefore bringing an even stronger human element into the poem. This could potentially create a more vivid picture for your reader and emphasize the personal and ghastly effects of war.

    Still, your poem is profound as it is and raises pertinent questions. It definitely captures the reader and implores us to remember the countless sacrifices of these 'unknown soldiers'. Keep up your expressive and thoughtful writing!
    LikeReply 18 months ago


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"Unknown Soldiers" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 17 May 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/166267/unknown-soldiers>.

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