stone17
Souldier
by Ryan Stone

The Harley was midnight polished chrome,
three years of saving — a gift to myself
in the spring of seventeen.

I donned leathers as my birthday broke,
left the house that was not home
and rode out into morning. Rode

until I landed, beneath the steely gaze
of a drill sergeant who forged men
from boys of seventeen.

He shaved away my dreadlocks,
found a fractured soul beneath,
broke it down
then built it up,
stronger,
more complete.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken on my first training exercise in the Northern Territory during my initial posting to the 1st Armoured Regiment.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I bought my first motorcycle from money I’d earned over a few years of paper-rounds and other after-school employment and devotedly saved for that singular purpose. Shortly after I turned 17  I joined the Australian Army and took off around Australia. I learned many valuable lessons about myself that year.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ryan Stone is a writer from Melbourne, Australia. He has worn many different hats — barman, soldier, cop, firefighter —  but poet is the one he enjoys most of all. His poetry has been widely published online and in a number of literary magazines and anthologies. Most days you can find him running through his forest surrounds with a loyal German Shepherd at his side.