Song Of Napalm
by Gary Jacobson © 2001
Out under Vietnam’s killing moon,
The song of napalm
Comes disrupting all tranquil calm.
Comes a disquieting ultimatum
Singing songs of military dictum
At the dawn of destruction.
A sad ballad of imminent obliteration
In complete illumination,
Napalm’s sudden, fiery conflagration,
Brings all abiding annihilation.
Raining death from the sky
A sound making all humanity cry,
A nation sigh,
As people die...
Mid lightning and billowing smoke
All life below, inexorably choke.
How can man
Do this to a man?
Is so hard to kill
For commanders body count quotas to fill.
He's either too dug in
Or moving too fast,
Filtering through the high jungle grass,
Or hiding in jungles overcast.
So temptation conflicts our leaders
Between victory rational
Or victory at all costs irrational.
And when good and evil balance
Good doesn’t always stand a chance.
Not in war’s horror daze,
Where war elicits its own kind of craze!
For every moment the war is prolonged
Charley got stronger.
Yet for every moment the war's prolonged,
America’s will to fight got weaker.
Of charley's close at hand demolition.
Rear echelon generals call for repeat,
When one victory upon another
Makes this rollicking war replete.
Washington's fat cat politicians
Get all in a dithering bind
Watching Nam's war unwind.
From their cat-bird seat,
Far and away from the jungle heat.
For this cruel war is a bafflement,
An out-and-out befuddlement.
For where successes are compounded
More success is demanded.
And more, and more and more...
Louder come the protester's jeer,
Bring our boys-next-door back here!
Put an end to this foul, evil war,
For which our goody-two-shoes abhor!
While Charley is content
To play the waiting game.
Opposing the world's mightiest power
His greatest claim to fame,
Patiently sitting back
Eating a rice treat,
Enjoying his sweet-and-sour dog meat
Like he’s on R&R,
Instead of fighting contentious conflict
This drove American officers so mad.
Like to explode so awful bad.
So they opted a jungle to defoliate
The very jungle leaves eradicate.
Agent Orange only kills leaves
So VietCong will pack up and go,
In great wisdom they reasoned so.
But napalm in one fell swoop
Wipes out not only the forest,
But kills for good a cantankerous foe.
To kill VC hiding therein
We must incinerate them,
Pig after pig,
Cow after cow,
Man by man,
Village after village till, so long,
They're dead and gone.
Then and only then can we find any peace.
Then and only then can we end this bloodletting.
Then and only then can we start the forgetting.
Then and only then can we start the healing.
It's pure, inhuman profanity.
We blow Vietcong to kingdom come
Then we search for them,
We lie to them,
We say we hope they don't die,
Though their skin with napalm
We did fry.
We hospitalize them.
We patch them up with a band-aid
And pat ourselves on the back
For acts of humanity made.
While generals marvel at chemical science,
Men unleash upon men death's essence.
Such an insignificant word remiss,
Napalm cannot begin
Its meaning to encompass
For the uneducated remiss,
Describe devastation of war’s fatal kiss,
A war Leaving permanent scars of injustice
In body, minds and souls
Eternally striving for acceptance.
Everything’s gone in inferno white-heat.
Napalm destroys everything that lives
In less than a heartbeat,
The Killing so neat
And so indiscreet.
The song of napalm is so utterly,
Lacking of human responsibility,
Devoid of personal involvement
Breeding only carnal excitement.
Just a whisper till exploding
A moment of horrendous thunder rocking,
Then you’re gone,
Sent to another world
As the napalm sings its devastating song
Wiped out to breathe no more,
To live no more,
So much like mortal man!
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