Once I Was a Young Man

I shift my focus now, and go back in time and place, to when I was a younger man and innocence had a face.

A time before I knew the things that I have come to know.
Like the summer days we swam together swinging off the tree ropes dropping into the swirling water of the river that danced below.  Laughing joyfully for our lives were gentle then, even slow. 

We would picnic in the forest as you held your hand in mine while running through the trees we ran chasing one another for I was free to be a man.

We lay upon the bank while the sun rays licked at the water as it ran tickling down our backs, then gently we rolled over making love upon the grass.

With time away for school it was learning that I sought.  But alas I would come to stray.

It was then the DOD came knocking on my door one day holding out its hand to me.  I saw it as my duty and as a service to this land as they offered me a promise to make of me a man.

After basic training I shipped out to a calm and verdant place.  But soon it turned into a hot and seething hell that place of rice paddies and blazing heat.

There were mosquitoes as big as ping-pong balls and spiders that could ring your bell, snakes of deadly venom and insects the size of rats.

The ARVN and the ANZAC stood side by side in that state that we called hell and was here that we wrestled with the devil ‘til he fell.  But the bastard, he got up again and got us from behind.

With shells exploding everywhere and our buddies going down, there was no place to get to safety, it was do or die as there were men whose limbs were ripped apart, faces gone, some torn and shredded, some beheaded with little to put back together to make them human once again.

For that mother fucker Charlie came planting landmines down our road.  Each mine would explode and kick us in the ass becoming just another loss for us to carry home.

Today I lie a wake nights insomnia my friend, my sleeplessness a sign that I am still on watch for all the others gone these many years.  Know this my brothers you will always live within my heart ever filling me with tears as I go throughout my day.


penname   penname wrote
on 5/21/2008 2:07:21 AM
This is delightfully vivid. I read it as if it was me, but it wasn't, but it felt as if it was, which is why this is so wonderful. I'm new here, and I haven't reviewed much yet, but I am extremely critical of writing (except my own writing which is not very good)-However, I know what moves me and what I like and what I don't- and this I like...very much so. I really like the subject matter and the simple viewpoint- but what bowled me over was the tone and the force in the words-expecially the verbs.

amberfire   amberfire wrote
on 5/10/2008 11:14:16 PM
Brutally accurate and vivid. An exceptionally moving piece, great job!

Raven Spirit   Raven Spirit wrote
on 5/7/2008 6:37:21 PM
Thank you each for your comments, I appreciate them.

AshesofLilith   AshesofLilith wrote
on 5/6/2008 10:37:39 PM
*am too young...

AshesofLilith   AshesofLilith wrote
on 5/6/2008 10:37:18 PM
I totally agree with lindsay; of course I was am too young to have experience Vietnam, the essence of your poem moved me. It was intense.

Raven Spirit
Free Verse
writing Raven Spirit
I am fascinating, divine and full of it.
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This poem was a class assignment last winter. I was to write a "persona" poem. I chose to write as a Vietnam Veteran [my heroes] ... for my Cyber-Brothers, Todd, Ron, Bob and the big S.
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