Two Poems: "Tunnels of Cu Chi," and "Punji Stakes."
Song playing: Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
"Find the Cost of Freedom."

These poems concern two hazards faced in Vietnam, the massively complex, and intricate tunnel systems, and the simple and deadly punji stakes.

Golden Bamboo

tunnel running at Cu Chi Butch Petit tunnel running at Cu Chi
tunnel running at Cu Chi

Golden Bamboo

Tunnels of Cu Chi
by Gary Jacobson © August 2006

The dreaded tunnels of Cu Chi stretch long and deep
Dug into netherworld bowels, sneaky Vietcong to keep
Foxholes dug for men to hide in the bosom of Mother Earth
To give feared enemies wide berth.

The great tunnels of Cu Chi
Dug by desperate men systematically
Replete with clandestine sleeping quarters
Providing home-sweet-home for cunning rebel soldiers.

Secreted tunnels of Cu Chi devoid of light
Give sanctuary to camouflage foul enemies from sight
Dug deep within a veritable network, this subterranean haven
Where into living and fighting spaces fled the motley craven.

The massive tunnels of Cu Chi hosted beaucoup below-ground cities
Hidden from the light of day with all the civilities
Conference rooms and hospitals dug far underground
Tunnels rising oft to the surface in numerous spider holes found.

The tunnels of Cu Chi were dug for the Vietcong recluse
To provide a place for these damned souls to dodge fighting's noose
With Charlie ducking in his hidey-hole to escape withering firepower
Here in buried depths malignant souls cower.

In the tunnels of Cu Chi the treacherous Cong lie in wait
For an unsuspecting enemy to take their dreadful bait
Virulent foes make ready to emerge from subterranean dike
When they're ready hit-and-run from the heart of seclusion to strike.

The tunnels of Cu Chi hid a wily foe rancorous
Clandestine Vietcong dug deep in their malevolence
Waiting to shed from pent up solitude attacks injurious
Hiding in earth's recesses to inflict wounds most pernicious.

Into Cu Chi tunnel confines bigger Americans cannot go
Into the tunnel black like pitch pursue the cantankerous foe.
Therein go men small of stature but big of heart down the rat hole
A few choice men selected to ventilate the vermin soul.

Tunnel rats were deployed down the hole to sincerely advocate,
To with subtle reasoning cajole...
Then Xin-loi, tunnel rats routed out the surly Vietcong assh____
uh, er soldiers.

Tunnel rats could not be stopped by the foul specter of death
So taking what could be their last clean breath
These vulnerable men went running the pits of hell
Simply dropping from sight into the narrow, confining cell.

Grave harm waits just around each dusty corner precarious
All held in a teetering balance of life-threatening serious
Living with trepidation each flickering moment critically dangerous
Heart pumping adrenaline surging on the ridge of life hazardous.

Go down brave hearts, aware of stark danger awaiting there
Running tunnels a risk that prickles in your hair
But half brave, half dinky-dau, still into the perilous abyss you go...
Chills running along your back in deep despair...
But bravery demands you go ... legions of hell to dare.

punji stakes punji stakes

Punji Stakes
by Gary Jacobson © August 2006
tunnel running at Cu Chi
Punji stakes are a soldierís bane
Set precisely to cause him great pain
Shards of carefully sharpened bamboo
Angled behind logs GIs step over ... peekaboo!
Or spread by the acre
Gotcha! smiles that dirty Vietcong wiseacre.

Charlie would rather wound than kill you
With Punji stakes dipped in a special excrement stew
Better the infection to bring to me and you
And itís not because Charlieís suddenly nice
Giving to soldiers this infectious jaundice
This booby-trap fills a need to do the greatest harm in malice.

It takes more men to care for wounded than the dead
Medics, doctors, nurses , hospitals to house the sick bed
Costing much more money to give a soldier back his health
Besides, itís just more fun for the malignant VC hiding in stealth
To do his enemy great injury without himself exposing
Without his motley hide endangering.

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