Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Memories of War

It was the summer of 1968 on a lonely dirt road in a place called Vietnam. A beautiful sunny day and a jeep ride to a barge site called Cat Lai that I had been to many times before.
My jeep

The Lonely Dirt Road

On a lonely dirt road in middle of a war
I was only 19 a mere kid new to this game
This game we call war, I hadn't learned the score
This game adults play, using their kids as pawns

I transported pilots from Saigon to the ports
I got my first call in the summer of 68
I had not yet learned about war
Had not learned of this thing called hate

It was in the middle of a rice paddy
Just a young soldier and his pilot
Headed down that long dusty road
The pilot was my only load

We were ten miles out and no one around
It was a beautiful day, it was quiet, not a sound
Down by the river so far out of town
It seemed like a short ride
Only a fool would venture out this far all alone

A bend in the road and a forest ahead,pretty trees all around
Shots ring out piercing the quiet,what a blood curdling sound
Holes in the windshield and a hole in his head
I looked the pilots way,was he dead?

Young soldier grabs his weapon as he looks all around
His heart is pounding, as he stays close to the ground
With his weapon in hand, would he be killed in this strange land?
He radios for help as he and a sniper the only ones around

Was the sniper alone, would others join him soon?
Was the sniper alone or an entire platoon?
Soldier checks his ammo, only one clip in his hand
Would help get there before he spilled his blood on the sand?

The radio crackled, help was on the way
But when faced with death, an hour becomes a day
He listened he waited, didn't dare breath
Would this enemy hut him, or would he leave?

Finally after what seemed like an eternity, the sound of a chopper
A gun ship this soldier hoped
This fear was making waiting harder to cope
From his hiding place he dared not raise his scope

The chopper got closer, he heard guns blazing
The bullets cut the trees, the smoke looked like a hazing
Five men jumped from the chopper with guns
He wondered; so this is how it's done

The soldier felt something warm on his cheek
On his check there was blood, flesh cut by flying glass
He had not noticed any pain
He was busy concentrating so his very life he could gain

The jeep windshield had been shattered
In the frantic hail of bullets, it had not mattered
But the pilot was dead, shot through the head
This soldier thought, it could have been me instead

Young man had never been shot at before
This experience changed him to the core
Some experiences can change a man so they say
Some experiences can change you for ever more

The road to Cat Lai

Poems of a Forgotten War
(Remembering Vietnam)
Available on Amazon.Com
Barnes & Noble

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