Gary Jacobson


My memory box
Protected by a thousand secret locks
Holds memories of when I became a man
Meditating of a far off time in Vietnam
Now held close and deep inside
Lined with pain and pride
Protecting long forgotten names
Remembered faces in that time of games
Memories lie there, crumbling to dust there
One eclipsing others in malevolence does stare
Wrenching heart-strings with great despair.

From time to time
Horrors leap from my Pandora’s box
Breaking its thousand locks
Like a whirlwind my being rocks
Leaps forth a beast through the night ridden
Demons arise from light of day hidden
Awake in the nights still listening
Awakened by winds of war again stirring
Watching throughout the day agitating
Young men’s hearts foolish hatreds whipping.

Memories tearing at my mind drive me crazy
Disillusioned by war’s bloody fantasy
Lost forever through time unwind my innate trust
Unraveled strong values deteriorating now but rust
Once again dying mid thunder and lightning
Again neglected guns and explosions hearing
Abandoned again in jungle fever sweating
Dismayed by hateful talk of renewed war
Released yet again that droning bore
Shouting back from a past I frightfully abhor.

Again war’s rhetoric takes me back
Again to shattered heart of long ago attack
A time ripped from a boys sensibilities
Beleaguers shredded memories
Reincarnated horrors my mind rack
Dark tides roll into a brain inky black
Honor wreaked in havoc from meager civilities
Nightmarish atrocities
Brought to life in a terrible dream
Yanking from my soul again a primal scream.

till I hide again the box
Lock its thousand locks
Wipe away my mournful tear
Mend again the wounds its scorching sear
Resolve never to forget brothers dear
Far from the scene of battle fled
Burying in my box again the dead
Hiding distant memories my very soul did burn
Wondering when will we ever learn
Must histories past always, always return?

This poem inspired the response, “War Wounded” ~ ©Copyright February 28, 2003 by Nancy L. Meek