One tin soldier
Left his valley of milk and honey
Abundant life so rich and sunny
To bring peace unto the world
Spread before him in great vastness unfurled.
He wanted naught but mankind to help
This freshborn naÔve whelp
Still abiding in carefree callow youth
Drawn unknowing into warís violence uncouth
Innocent to horrors, life and death on the line
Intrinsic values in spiraling decline.
One tin soldier
Marched to be his countryís savior
Taken far, far away
Thrust headlong into battle's heated fray
Facing men preoccupied with killing, handed a gun
Killing was at first indeed no fun.
Some soon became addicted to the killing
Some could not live without its fever thrilling
Losing the love once held so essential
To beingís essence now grown dysfunctional
Reborn into a hard corps fighting machine
Most efficient warriors the worldís ever seen.
Lost forever was the young boy's naivetť
He forgot how to pray
Only living to survive
Fighting so he and buddies might stay alive
To make it back to the world
To find again his lost peace like gold.
Now the man-boy at last comes home
Looking for his soul to atone
The war aching in his belly like a stone.
He had lost himself
In war's treacherous gulf
His ideals long abandoned on a shelf.
He was to others, himself included, adversarial
Hostile with only one thing in mind antisocial
Humanity a bartered credential
Lost was the boy in shadowy forest lair
Hot home of the Vietcong who dare
Dare these but callow youth to venture there.
Still he sees enemies smirking
Their eyes red coals burning
There waiting to kill in every crowd
Wartime adrenaline talking overly proud, too loud
Finding it hard again to trust
Trust lost in mud, blood and dust.
Beaucoup violence now become a learned way of life
Dinky dau antagonisms gained in the warriorís strife
Drinking too hard to quell nagging memories
Giving no peace to these wounded in spirit ambulatories
Visited at night by flash-back-stories
Rife with anxious anxieties cruel warís depositories.
He's afraid to make friends, because they too will die
Heís lost the connection he once had on high
Now visited nightly by brothers who died
Painfully, bloodily, swept up in warís tide
Seeing one-by-one grinning faces grown grotesque
Statuesque men he killed in macabre war burlesque
Oceans of tears belie a war once thought humoresque
Bound forever to remember his walk in the park picturesque.
No, I donít want to discuss it!
How can you really bear even thinking about it?
Why choose to remember that awful war good men abhor
Which shouldnít consume one minute of your precious time
Mucking about in grime and blood good senses malign
Thinking about it all the live-long time should be a crime
For it will skew you out of step, out of rhyme!
Donít you know these thoughts are not healthy?
Why do you to the good life show enangered apathy?
Dwelling in the far-away war downright filthy
Why, that warís no longer even newsworthy!
You choose ... to fill yourself with warís empathy
It'll bring nothing but troubling mental neuropathy.
You are what you choose to be. Itís your own fault
This sullen assault on morose senses default
Itís up to you. Just out of this caustic pit vault.
Donít let war bother you. Why canít you just get over it?
Why do you spend all your time thinking about it?
Know you not, you warrior boys of summertime
Death freezes the soul in biting wintertime coating rime.
Why are you emailing me at four in the morning?
You need not about the glum long-ago keep mourning!
You know, donít you know you need your sleep?
Surely thereís nothing that will not till morning keep
Why do you let moody moldy doldrums oíer you creep?
You know, itís all your choice!
You can pity yourself, or with the world eat, drink and rejoice
Get on with your living ... leave horrible thoughts behind
Banish abominable thoughts of a destructive kind
Roust melancholic thoughts of evil that bind.
Oh my naive friend, I say ... donít you know:
Iím forever lost in my thousand yard stare...
Remembering brothers who fought and died back there
Horribly bloody in deepest despair.
It was back there I killed my first man
Fading light in his eyes left a feeling Iíll never understand.
I still live filled with warís violent fare
Raising beaucoup memories fair and square
How can I forget fear still filling my soul in Namís vapid air
Days turning cherished values upside down devil-may-care
Constant sounds of artillery still rings in my ears from back there
Forget damnable hell pouring out that I must now share.
I still regurgitate long hidden memories of warfare
Of a sweet-and-sour time when I bore the brave lionís share
Coming only now out of shadowed time lost in grieving
Stinging. Conceiving. Remembering...
Betimes neither here nor there
Where Vietnamís broken bodies fill memories raw and bare.
Iím still abandoned and so all alone in warís crosshair
Mentally beating myself for the killing once so rampant oíer there
Berating guilt derived from Namís killing fields so fair
Visiting that hallowed wall and seeing that vacant chair
Tears stream from down deep from a silent place unaware.
Why do I continue weary life to persevere?
The Namís pain
Will always in my soul remain
You can't wash it out
You can't tear it out
Think it out, beat it out, wear it out...
I remember brave brothers who gave all
Wounded egregiously in a time where back-flashes pall.
Unbidden rivers-of-tears my heart still ravaging tear
Leaving unseeing eyes in that thousand yard stare
Covering verdant bloody jungle everywhere
Plucking heart-strings within me swear
Remembering Nam's sweet-and-sour staining gall
Remembering red sticky blood on boys that fall...
Wondering why my name's not beside brothers on that wall.
Remember ... that heated September
An ambush back in that Vietcong lair
Silently crying out in deepest despair
Where still lies the pit of my soul
My young being whole
Impair my very fear ensnare
Eulogies given when bloody death rode sweet-and-sour air
Remember ... Part of my soul lies forever there.
Brave Americans rise this beloved land to defend
Prepare to shed very blood till very life does end
Defending God-given right on our sacred shore
Protecting bounteous blessings galore
To valiantly instill precepts of God-given liberty
To share sweet democracy to prove us purely free
Sustaining lifeís qualities making very honor be...
Patriots did alight freedomís rare light in rocketís red glare
Bearing charity, love and mercy in sweet homeland air
For in liberty patriots breathe
Sharing all values free men can conceive
Sharing the greatness in this land they believe
For them give a hearty cheer
For dear precepts of liberty in freedom they hear.
Americans flounder in toiling sacrifice in thick bricky mud
Where painstakingly we shed heroes red blood
Humping beside brothers in verdant crawling crud
Omnipresent sweat rolling down a furrowed brow
Stinging patriot eyes in a war dinky dau
Surviving in fright one more night in a foxhole curled
Trying one another to help a brother back to the world.
Search corkscrew jungle shadows for men they fear
Abiding hatred living precariously near
Fighting white knuckle during the short-timerís year.
Teeth to teeth brawling with liberties foe
Trying to keep together lingering body and soul
Hand over hand keeping the body countís toll
Laughing and grinning they ignore the grim reaper
Sagacious faith straining by the eternal spirit keeper.
Click the Combat Infantry Badge
to Visit my Vietnam Poems index,
each poem with more action
graphics and Pictures
CLICK TO VISIT... Through pictures and poetry take a walk in "the park" with the 1st Air Cavalry on combat patrol. Experience the chilling reality that will give you the taste of "the Nam" on your tongue, leave the pungent smell of "the Nam" in your nostrils, and imbed textures of "the Nam" in your brain as though you were walking beside me in combat.