Dust off

A far away forgotten land,
lost in time and space,
was where we came to know the heart,
and where we fell from grace;

Gone within the twinkling eye,
that long ago before.
A mothers tears were turned to dust,
as sons went off to war.

Laughter echoed from the men,
in pools of blood they knelt.
Their mercies stolen from their youth,
and madness all they felt.

Life was leaving them behind,
at home there lived their love.
A dust off carried wounds away,
ascending with the dove.

They cried alone in inky night,
and carried what they will.
The jungle ate its fill of flesh,
and there they wander still.

I recently read Tim O’Brien’s book “The Things they Carried” and have seldom felt so affected by one man’s story. His honesty is tempered by his own realization that the memories he still carries are the things his own mind and heart chose to photograph inside, and are the scenes which, at any instant, return to him. I know I was fortunate not to have been drafted at that time, and I will always respect those who, like Tim, did their duty for their country, never knowing the cost. I offer these words in deepest respect to them, and all those who served, to let them know they are not alone, that the memory of their service is one of the things we still carry.

Image: http://forums.military.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/5291911282/m/8110064732001


12 thoughts on “Dust off

    • Wendell – It means a lot to me to know that this reaches you and even lifted your heart. Again, thank you for serving … “Above all men the soldier pray most for peace” – Gen Douglas MacArthur –

  1. Having been a civil servant of the USAF during the Vietnam War, I very much appreciate the honor this poem does to those fallen ones in those SE Asia jungles. Thank you, dear grandfather.

    • Then my heart goes out to you as well ! I only knew the war was wrong, and wanted no part. As I said I am fortunate to have had such a high draft lottery number, I think we all carry a certain amount of survivor’s guilt (although nothing to compare to those who walked the line)

    • Linda – Thank you for taking a moment to comment, these thought are terrible, and that we continue to inflict them on our sons and daughters, makes me wonder how far have we really come in 5000 years? I refuse to believe what Plato said – that only the dead have seen the end of war …

      • You’re welcome, thank you kindly for sharing your moving words and for bringing Tim O’Brien’s book to our attention. I’d never heard of it before but know it would be something I would be interested in. It definitely sounds like a life-changing read. Many of my loved ones served and I’ve always been ever so grateful. They are a different breed.

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