He stood 5’6 at about 115 pounds
The lights in Jacks eyes confounds.
For just a moment as he looks at you
Coming back from someplace his mind went to.
Someplace during World War Two
With too much barb wire and walls askew.
Then a prisoner of the Third Reich
This P-38 pilot and Luftwaffe Shrike.
His eyes return from that far away time
You can see his vision of it sublime.
His green eyes twinkle at you and shine
A toothy grin and now he’s fine.
Jet black hair parted to one side
Never took for himself a bride.
The results of his stay in the camps
The horrors he’s seen has left it’s stamp.
A once handsome man now bent and broken
Speaks to you in a hollow voice soft-spoken.
He chain-smokes Camel Cigarettes you see
His hands shake a little as he looks at me.
You can’t help but love this brave soul
Whose survival from the Germans has taken it’s toll.
His nervous laugh comes a little too easy
And when he sits too long he becomes uneasy.
Jack lived with his Mother and step father
And his Mother admitted that he was no bother.
For they were friends of my parents and me
So on visits to their house there was Jack and me.
And I loved talking to Jack because he was fun
“Hello David, how are you doing son?’
And his face would come back from where-ever it was
When he saw me come into his room because.
I’d listen to Jack and not say a word
He’d tell me new stories that I’d never heard.
He liked me because I liked him
But sometimes his stories got dark and grim.
And one evening Jack got that far away look in his eyes
And his green eyes to me did mesmerize.
He told me of horrors of the camp he had seen
He told me in this camp he had been.
And the light in Jack’s eyes got stranger still
And a glaze came over them like an icy chill.
“Those dirty no good son of a bitches”
Jack’s words now coming in strange pitches.
This frail man stood up out of his rocking chair
And he ran his hand through his thick black hair.
I saw his ribs through his T-shirt heaving
And sobs from his soul relieving.
The agony he relives every day of his life
Of those days behind fences filled with strife.
The tears streamed down his face straight away
And he was embarrassed that I saw him that way.
So I reached over and took Jack’s shaking hand
The one with the cigarette lighter and gold band.
And the tears continued to flow
“David you’re a good kid you know.”
His words to me as he managed a smile
His eyes came back to green after while.
His mother came in and asked if things were all right?
So I jumped up and smiled at her with all my might.
Her smile at me telling of Jack’s plight
She turned and walked back out of sight.
And Jack looked at me and said “Thank you Son”
“ Now tell me about something that’s fun.”
This was Jack Ryan.
He was a real person.
He was a real prisoner of war
And he was my friend.