by Dolly Juhlin

This poem is for all Viet Nam Veterans


Some memories scream with silence

Some appear as soaked in blood

Some echo like the suction

Of feet trudging through the mud


Some ricochet like gun shots

Inside their tired heads

Most are stained with sweat and tears

Of the patriots who bled


People vainly try fix them

With fancy talk and pills

They think they have the answers

But nothing cures these ills


Booze is not the antidote

Though many pour it down

It's just another nightmare

In which you're sure to drown


Angry words are all they know

These men who once were kind

How did they come to be transformed

What twisted in their minds


So many men have missing parts

Like hearts and souls or limbs

Most want to exit from the depths

Of the dismal hell they're in


But failure haunts them like a ghost

Like a reoccurring dream

Does no one see them dying

Can no one hear their screams


Another piece of shrapnel

Oozing from their flesh

Just like the memories in their minds

Always painful, just as fresh


Sleep never calms, no peace exists

It just goes on and on

Memories clear and vivid

Of that war in Vietnam


Some live in prisons with steel bars

Others shackled in their mind

Love can't heal, though some have tried

Broken hearts get lost in time


The horror doesn't go away

Of things they've done and seen

Why doesn't God erase it all

And end the living dreams


Some wander aimlessly alone

Not caring anymore

Their minds are far away it seems

Locked on a foreign shore


Thoughts of peace provoke them

They fear it's gone forever

They covet those who have it all

An illusive dream to treasure


What is hope, it hurts, not helps

It's too hard to try again

No one knows how sad it is

To live at this bitter end


Hate lives and festers daily

Some try to keep it covered

Try as they will, it doesn't work

Some memories can't be smothered


Why are they living in this shell

What's the use of trying

When they can still hear sobs of grief

Of buddies who were dying


Is time the all-time healer

Will memories lessen with the years

But what about the price they paid

And who will dry their tears


Years of life have slipped on by

Moments swallowed up by time

Families broken up in bits

Friends of yours and mine


No, there really is no answer

People slip between the cracks

We must accept the fate we're dealt

Since no one ever can go back


They gave their all, and that's enough

People cannot understand

These guys owe no apologies

For time they spent in 'Nam.


No one knows what they have lived

With their backs against the wall

Confronted with true terror

They just answered duty's call


Post traumatic stress they say

Makes life hard to recover

The healing comes in different ways

For each of our lost brothers


So cut these guys a little slack

Send them a prayer or two

But for the grace of God, you could

Be walking in their shoes



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