David R. “Poppa” Alexander

THIRTY MINUTES TO HELL

Today those yesterdays seem so distant
But the shouts and smells are still persistent
Even dirty clothes and weathered boots
Can reflect the eyes of innocent youths

Haunting eyes of those lying dead
The stench of the blood and a tinge of dread
Unspoken dreams in those silent stares
No promises to keep; no time for prayers.

A moment’s silence
Then a bust of violence
Not long, but enough to feel the fear
And just long enough to shed a tear.

Most of the time death came too quickly
Over in seconds; death came completely.
One moment your buddy was telling a joke
And then he was gone in a puff of smoke.

The bullet for you was never expected
And nobody at all could ever be protected
Five minutes in – trying to stay alive;
Ten minutes in – trying to survive.

Fifteen minutes in – the world would stand still
No time to rest or remember your kill.
Twenty minutes in – you could hear your heart pound
And you would find yourself gasping and hugging the ground.

From the very first minute until the end
Not enough time to look for a friend.
Then suddenly a silence; neither a shell nor a yell
And you realized you had been “Thirty Minutes to Hell”!

Postscript:

Most contact with the enemy lasted thirty minutes or less,
But the scars that remained could never be put to rest.
Death, pain, and suffering you faced head on; survival was your only objective
Memories that torment can’t always be put in proper perspective.