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#1130614 - 09/13/17 03:38 PM Messages of Hope  
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 77
Perry Neal Crawford Offline
Serious Contributor
Perry Neal Crawford  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 77
May I invite all to contribute lyrics, poems and stories of hope in our challenging times.

I have been with the Army for 43 years (twelve years active and as a counseling psychologist in civilian service since then). I was born with birth defect the Army new nothing about when I joined. As time went on my condition grew worse. I studied for college level exams while on active duty, getting a degree in psychology that enabled me to continue service as a counselor in substance abuse clinics while continuing on active duty. While serving in counseling I was able to continue my education to a masters degree, then a doctorate in counseling.I left active duty having gone from a high school diploma to PhD while on active duty. I am now a wheelchair warrior, but I still work as a full time therapist. I have no pension from VA. I am not "disabled" and love the work I do (Steven Hawking is one of my personal heroes. He would never refer to himself as "disabled").

I am not bragging. I simply live my life the way I was raised and have helped many active duty soldiers to find their pathways in similar ways. When I go to the VA hospital it is to work with the VA Behavioral Health staff providing treatment for veteran's addicted to drugs and alcohol. I am 32 years clean and sober by the grace of God.

The Raven © Perry Crawford 2002

Blackness frightening, blinding lightening,
Thunder pounding in the air,
Wind is blowing, danger showing,
Brazen raven doesn’t care.

Passions yearning like fires burning
Brings the Raven to the peak,
Benediction to addiction,
Satisfaction he must seek.

Rain is pouring, flashflood roaring,
Pushing down the mountainside,
Torrent crashes, beats and smashes,
Sturdy rocks begin to slide.

Seeking shelter, helter skelter,
Frightened raven swoops and dives,
Rocks are falling, death is calling,
To the bird enslaved by drives.

Numbness grasping, falling, gasping
Landing in a yucca tree,
Darkness closing, death imposing,
Raven fearing it must be.

Stunned and humbled, call is mumbled,
To a higher power’s ears,
Heartfelt sadness turns to gladness,
Gratitude through flowing tears.

Clouds are clearing, daylight peering,
Through the storm comes heaven’s gaze,
Answered yearning, strength returning,
Raven flies through morning haze.

#1130618 - 09/13/17 08:00 PM Re: Messages of Hope [Re: Perry Neal Crawford]  
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,015
lane1777 Offline
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lane1777  Offline
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Posts: 1,015
south of the mason,dixon line
very good write Perry,
you know this message of hope is not as common as a person thinks. so many do not get through that storm. what a nice thing to read..your fight..Lane

"Grace always pours from a closing wound"
#1130633 - 09/13/17 11:00 PM Re: Messages of Hope [Re: Perry Neal Crawford]  
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 77
Perry Neal Crawford Offline
Serious Contributor
Perry Neal Crawford  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 77
I have been asked to share my story. I will summarize, focusing on my substance use, and finish with my military service story poem for the rest, as it captures my combat experience and mixed feelings I am still working through.

I was raised in alcoholism and violence in a poor and nomadic family. Brandy was cough medicine and beers with Dad while watching Saturday cartoons was common. Cherry wine mixed with 7up was holiday punch for us kids while the adults drank harder stuff. As a teen I had 16 wrecks in two years (3 in one night before joining the Army 27 Feb 1974). When I came into the Army beer was allowed at lunch (3 max rule but nobody counted) and smoking joints morning and evenings was commonplace (no urine testing yet for years after I joined). I was then sent to Korea (instead of Vietnam). We set up both alcohol based and drug use based tents as clubs when out in the wilderness for training complete with smuggled Korean hookers. I was in communications and we always had electric generators for music and dancing while out in the woods/mountains for weeks at time. My combat experience was against the North Koreans when they attacked at the demilitarized zone through tunnels under the DMZ we knew nothing about (tunnels large enough for two tanks abreast at a time coming through. One third of 2nd Infantry Division did not show up for the fight (AWOL). Many of them were too drunk/high to respond out of the villages where they were at brothels. Only 50% of the weapon systems (tanks, Howitzers, Vulcans, trucks etc. were operational, so it was ok that so many were missing. Of those that showed up, many were drunk or high or wanting to get that way (it wasn't water in many canteens and many party bags of pills and LSD stained chewing gum made it to the action as well as lots of Niquil (legal to have loads of in duffle bags). I had three nearly fatal experiences in my service before this fight including being shot by poachers while on guard duty at Fort Campbell Kentucky. This is a creative writing forum, so I present the rest of my story leading to my quest for sobriety titled DRUMS of PEACE which I dedicate to all veterans and all those serving on active duty:


The dawn of man is marked by tools
The ancients left behind,
Their use as weapons, harsh and cruel
Left scars on boney finds.

Some populations once intact
Were gone without a trace,
A tragedy man re-enacts
In every clime and place.

The bloody spears of victory
With stains of battles won,
Were passed down throughout history
From sires to their sons.

Traditions echo ever more,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war!

Eternal fame for conquering
for empires far and wide,
Honor man’s war mongering
In history’s rising tide.

The dynasties of reigning kings
Are judged as weak or strong,
As measured in the scheme of things
By victories, right or wrong.

Ancestral halls in pompous flair
Where Coats of Arms are hung,
Stand in timeless honor where
The songs of war are sung.

With medals, fame and wealth in store,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war!


Now children catch the morning sun
That bids them out to play,
The neighborhood calls everyone,
To join a war today!

Soon after breakfast action starts,
They run straight for a gun,
And caps or water or paint or darts
For hours of killing fun.

They’re trained by their computer games,
The movies and TV,
Our little children taking aims
to practice what they’ve seen.

With coursing pulse they can’t ignore,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war!

For bottle caps and minted coin
They see a matinee,
Evil versus good are joined
In true to life melee.

The blood will spurt and heads will fly
As actors play their part,
To shoot and stab and burn and die
In cinematic art.

Inoculated to the shock
A bloody death would bring,
Our children are more apt to flock
To see most anything.

Immunized from blood and gore,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war!

Our teens face off in angry gangs
And when they chance to meet,
The escalating Tag and Bang
Leaves bodies in the street.

The toys of youth were long replaced
By weapons made of steel,
The cries of pain from foes they face
And flowing blood are real.

The motives spawning rival hate
Are taught in homes and schools,
As class, religion, creed and race
Give birth to laws and rules.

Read bloody letters on the floor,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war.

To teens who just cannot decide
What they would like to do,
The television oft reminds
That Uncle Sam Wants You!

For those who reach their senior year
There is a special test,
To find out which armed force appears
To match their skills the best.

Teens look to those in fighting roles
As Heroes and as Greats,
And labor toward those chosen goals
No matter what it takes.

Patriotic to the core,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war!
The Old ones meet at power’s peak
As tempers start to flare,
And torch the very words of peace
They’d gathered to prepare,

The smoldering makes logic blind
And voice of reason choke,
The fire in the belly climbs
To fill the head with smoke.

Lightning bolts of threat appear!
Each one is met in kind!
And clash in spark, like sword and spear
To slay all peaceful minds.

Now unleash the ancient lore!
In hearts of youth beat drums of war!

The headlines scream the latest news,
The young are called to fight!
Fulfill the Patriotic Dream
With all your strength and might!

Send out recruiters to the door
In cities large and small,
Make them gather more and more
Until we get them all!

We’ll take them of their own accord
Unless they hesitate,
And little time we can afford,
Conscription cannot wait.

Sound the call from shore to shore,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war!


No more a child, but still a teen
I answer to the call,
And though I have a wife and child
I say goodbye to all.

In duty to my Nation’s plea
I run to take up arms,
And find myself across the sea
In place to face the harms.

In August heat the sirens blew
And woke us at first light,
To stop the enemy from pouring through
A tunnel hid from sight.

Within the ranks of rich or poor,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war.
Their tanks could quickly press ahead
Against our battle lines,
And we would then be forced to fight
In fields of buried mines.

Small arms and puny rounds to match
Were all I had with me,
An air guard perched atop a truck,
As ready as I’d be.

My speechless fellow soldiers reach
For canteens filled with booze,
And smoke some herbal courage,
Something all of them could use.

Now drowning out the cannon’s roar,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war.

I miss the ones that chose to run,
Without a place to go,
As now I lock and load my gun,
And hear the battle grow.

I watch the choppers overhead,
Machine guns at the door,
Fly quickly toward the battleground,
‘Till I can see no more.

Gunfire barks through humid air
And sends a chopper back,
In shock I see, while sitting there,
The price of the attack.

To mothers of the sons they bore,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war.

The bullet riddled door agape,
Gave me a glimpse inside,
At members of the flight crew
And the fear they could not hide.

Infectious fear can quickly spread,
I turn my eyes away,
So images I sorely dread
Can’t find my dreams and stay.

We’re pressing on, but something’s wrong
On winding gravel road,
The truck starts swerving swift and strong
And rolls atop it’s load!

In vengeance for the battle score,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war.

Beneath my truck, where I am stuck
I cannot feel my legs,
Upside down in curled up tuck
Like a duckling in an egg.

The fuel tanks and the batteries
Begin to spew their load,
Bare wires spark the diesel fuel
And smoke pours down the road.

I can’t recall how long I lay
‘Fore opening my eyes,
My drifting thoughts were turned to Prayer
In hopes I would not die.

The name of God in oath they swore,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war!

Oh let me see the morning view
Before I pass away,
And plants bejeweled in diamond dew
At early break of day.

And linger till the afternoon
As birds so mellow sing,
In fragrances from summer blooms
The lazy breezes bring.

And let me see the sunset paint
The mountain’s crimson might,
Then in the moonlight I will faint
Beneath the stars so bright.
Though many fall in battle sore,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war!


My comrades render selfless aid,
And do all they can do,
I lay and bask in answered prayer
In sunlight’s golden hue.

Four days that passed as slow as years
Were all the battle took,
New consolations stained with tears
Go into history’s book.

It isn’t long before I’m strong
And back on full alert,
But to a new place I have gone,
To safeguard foreign dirt.

Duty bound strait to the core,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war!

As older soldier I now stand
To train the new recruits,
To fight the new wars that began
From industry’s pursuits.

The fresh faced youth crawl at my feet
With live rounds overhead,
And lift their eyes to me in awe
As I stare straight ahead.

All are proud to serve when their
Own homeland is attacked,
But not one parent of the dead
Would not want their child back.
No matter what we’re fighting for,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war.


In looking back throughout the years
At history’s battle tracks,
There is no place upon the earth
Untouched by war’s attacks.

The reasons mount to touch the sky
Aggression and defense,
Early man once made a spear
And has not dropped it since.

Each new generation takes
It’s place on either side
Of disagreements chasm
Where all bridges are denied.

To end all war forever more,
Let young hearts silence drums of war!

Someday will come the newly born
Who will not touch the spear,
Raised up to know the light and truth
That brings an end to fear.

Beyond the eve of future’s birth
The youth will all rejoice,
The greatest victory on the earth,
The death of war drum’s voice.

If youth are raised with listening ears
To live their lives in peace,
We’ll see the last of glistening spears
And drums of war will cease.

The Savior bled from every pore,
Let young hearts silence drums of war!


Bold moon greets while sun retreats,
As both light up the land,
Youth now seek, from mountain’s peak
The works of the Master’s hand.

In the North a spring bursts forth,
Above a deep ravine,
Then it falls down stony walls,
And forms a pool serene.

To the South, the rivers mouth,
Alive with leaping fish,
Makes it’s reach, from hills to beach,
To grant all life it’s wish.

To the East walk herds of beasts,
Above them flocks of birds,
To the west is sunset’s best,
Beyond the reach of words.

Feeling small amidst it all,
Transfixed in wondrous awe,
In the trance they start to dance,
Inspired by what they saw.

Gathering sticks, both long and thick,
They strike a hollow log,
Pulses from the simple drum
Sound peace through evening fog.

With matchless love that will not cease,
In hearts of youth beat drums of peace.

#1130645 - 09/14/17 09:07 AM Re: Messages of Hope [Re: Perry Neal Crawford]  
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,107
Martin Lide Offline
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Martin Lide  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,107
Houston, Texas

I don't have any credentials as a writer. I'm just a lay person who enjoys writing. However, in my lay opinion, you are a born writer. It seems so when I read your stuff.

I'm very glad that you post up on this forum. Will enthusiastically look forward to what you post.


#1130647 - 09/14/17 10:02 AM Re: Messages of Hope [Re: Perry Neal Crawford]  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 6,802
Dave Rice Online content
Top 30 Poster
Dave Rice  Online Content
Top 30 Poster

Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 6,802
Hi Perry:

Thought I'd better let you know I kept my promise to drop by and take a peek. I'm glad I did and I agree with Martin. One suggestion for you to consider... in future posts, because most of us live in a busy and hectic world, reduce the number of topics in each thread and you will probably gain more traction with a wider audience. When I am well, I spend most of my day doing all the mundane things required of me and then I do my best to stay informed news-wise, winnowing the wheat from the chaff, then I get down to writing songs, recording them, re-writing them or re-recording them for the "umpteenth" time... and if there is any time left over, I read, attempt to find intelligent TV, meditate, pray, sleep.... then start the whole process over again... if God allows me to wake.

So glad you found JPF and I look forward to your future posts and threads. ----Dave

#1130654 - 09/14/17 01:04 PM Re: Messages of Hope [Re: Perry Neal Crawford]  
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 77
Perry Neal Crawford Offline
Serious Contributor
Perry Neal Crawford  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 77
Thank you Martin and Dave for your feedback and encouragement. If my words have given anyone a chuckle or some food for thought, it is only a reimbursement for those same benefits I receive from this site and from all those who take part. No award or recognition can match the joy I get from being a part of this organization where I get much more than I could ever give.

#1130683 - 09/15/17 01:40 AM Re: Messages of Hope [Re: Perry Neal Crawford]  
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 743
Deej56 Online content
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Deej56  Online Content
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 743

Hmmm, there's so much great stuff here--where to start? Loved the "Raven". Awesome rhythm and rhyme--the rhyme scheme is challenging in and of itself and yet you manage to convey meaning; I mean, it's just not a collage of rhyme, but a complete and well constructed missive. Really, really well-done.

I need to find some time to read through more carefully the other poems you offered up in this thread. Just glossing through, I'm thinking each is more than worthy of its own thread. But "Doubletime March" really caught my eye:

"Read bloody letters on the floor,
In hearts of youth beat drums of war"

Wow, great stuff. Looking forward to digging in and reading more.

Kindest regards,


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