’67

Twelve years in and there’s no end in sight,
The struggle goes on, still an unwanted plight
For us. Yet we toil day to day, can’t give up the fight,
While poor farmers resist our American might.

It’s impossible to define, this bleak situation,
They say that we fight for the ideals of our nation,
But what does that mean to a man losing patience
With a war that we fight that we can’t seem to win?

War is Hell. It’s true. Nothing I could say
Would begin to describe the days
I have lived in fear, as the grey
Fog closed in around us, and I prayed,
For the first time in my life I prayed
To be delivered, begged that I may
Survive to be able write to home and say
That I was safe, that I had not died that day.

And safe I remained, for a while at least,
But they take a toll on you, the deceased,
It releases in the mind a kind of demon, a beast,
And after a while my buddies and me ceased

To cope so well with seeing the new
Recruits thrown out to join us, we knew
What fate, what pain awaited them, the true
Life of the young soldier, while they had no clue.

But what option do we have? This is life now,
This is part of who we are, part of how
Our future is shaped.

And when I wake in the years from now
With sweat streaming from my brow

I’ll point back to here, to this nightmare, to this impossible toil,
To all these young lives wasted on some godforsaken foreign soil.

173d_Airborne_Brigade-_Vietnam_War-Hill_823

Summer Offensive

The rains came, the soldiers deployed,
Forward they went, devoid
Of any emotion, just employed
To see their foe destroyed.

Sneaking in through the smallest of holes,
Each among them knew his or her role,
Narrow passages awaited them, their goal
To find the center of control.

But alas, before they had begun,
Their foes brought out their heavy guns.
First came the floods, filling the tunnels,
Stopped their flight, gone their chance to run.

Then came the bombs, sharp bursts amid the calm.
The sounds deafening, the force alarming.

And then, to end it all came the chemicals.
The final end, the reaper’s sickle.
Troops lay dead and dying, all for the fickle

And pointless Summer pollen offensive

.Pollen_from_pine_tree_2

One Wish

Earth_Eastern_Hemisphere
One Wish
If you had it,
That one little wish,
what would you ask?
A Manifesto For A Better World,
Perhaps.
Or something more…
Selfish.
War,
Hunger,
Cancer,
Ended.
Or not.
Heartless not to want these, no doubt.
But if I had it,
That one little wish,
Well.
I fear that the world
Would continue to wait.
To wait for an unspoken wish.

Sleep: Poetry Rehab 101

Poppy2004Sleep now, little one
In your makeshift cradle.

No blanket to warm you,
Only Belgian mud
caked on your clothes
to keep out the cold.

So peaceful, like you didn’t
feel a thing,
when the shell fell down,
ending your fitful waking hours.

No.

Too young to imagine
You are gone forever.

I’ll see you again,
I know.
But not yet, not yet.

When we both awake,
in some other, better place.
When our fight is over,
and the war is done.

Then shall we two meet again.

Sleep now, little one,
though you’ve not
seen enough of this world.

You’ve earned your rest.

Shoutout to Mara Eastern and her Poetry 101 Rehab as always.

Poetry Rehab 101: Away

Walking_away_from_the_Third_World

Away

Away, away
Have to find a way
To express how
I feel when you’re
Not here.

Away.

Such an innocent
Sounding little word
But the source
Of so much pain in
This world.

Away!

Absent fathers,
Missing mothers,
Children gone,
Friends forgotten and
Loved ones lost.

Away.

Don’t go,
Stay here
With me.
We’ll face
The fear
Together.
Don’t go

Away.

Once again, shoutout to Mara Eastern, who organises these wonderful prompts.

To A Dry Elm Tree

A_dead_elm_tree_at_Nenthorn_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1435493

To the old elm, split by lightning
and rotten to its core,
who,
with the rains of April and the sun of May,
has begun to sprout some fresh green leaves.

The old elm up on the hill by the river.
Whose worm-eaten, dusty trunk
is stained by a yellowish moss.

It will never be one of those poplars,
those that guard the road and the riverbank,
a shelter for the nightingale to sing.

Even now, an army of ants march in file
through it, while in its entrails
the spiders spin their silver webs.

Before the woodsman cuts you down
with his axe, old elm of mine,
and the carpenter makes of you
a bell frame, or a yolk for a wagon.

Before you burn red
at the hearth of some miserable hut
at the wayside,
or a river carries you to the sea
through valleys and ravines.

Before that, Elm, I want to take note
of the beauty
of your green-speckled branches.

And secretly, despite the beauty of the
here and now,
my heart still wishes that you
defy the odds
and that next year, there will be
one last miracle of Spring.

This poem is a translation and adaptation of a work by Antonio Machado entitled ‘A Un Olmo Seco’.