David R. “Poppa” Alexander


Here I sit upon this hill looking down on the valley below;
There is a kind of celebration the kind I do not know.
While I’m up here keeping a watchful eye,
The Vietnamese civilians look like they are having a wedding no lie.

There are what seems to be a young man and woman dressed in their white,
A monk in his orange robes and seems like everything is just about right.
A celebration of marriage, and who know what the future holds,
The monk is writing something upon his scrolls.

Seems to be a short festival to be sure,
God Bless their union and hopefully they will live to mature.
There are fireworks and candles to be seen,
A marriage during a war can this be what this war can mean?

The wedding party seems to be breaking up,
No time for remembering just a little water from my cup.
To toast the bride and groom who look so happy,
No doubt before long the groom will be a pappy.

Now as the dusk settles in,
Another VC attack may begin.
I pray that they will just leave this young couple alone;
There future isn’t too bright, because into a war they were thrown.

Now the only lights below are the candles yellow glow,
And in the morning the rice, I’m sure they must sow
But for tonight just for this one time,
Let’s us leave the war behind.

This celebration of wedding bliss;
Sure is something I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.
I wonder if their children will grow,
To know the war wasn’t something we wanted either, will they know?

Now it is getting close to midnight,
Hope Charley will stay home and not force a fight.
We all have looked down below and seen that even in this place,
Can there still be peace, and love, and not so much hate.

Now it’s around two a.m.
I see a movement in the front of the village by the light so dim.
All the villagers have long ago gone to bed,
I hear a scream and I know that in the morning we’ll find some of them dead.

We can’t help or move we can’t even be seen,
We are ordered to sit here and now listen to the scream.
A festival of marriage was how this began,
And now I’m afraid that a funeral is how it will end.

Now is the time we were told to move in,
Into a village of people is what it should have been.
But as we approach, we can only see,
Mutilated bodies where the festival was and the wedding decree.

We cross over the creek into the village,
Where just last night was rape and pillage.
I curse the fate that brought me here,
To witness a wedding that was distant but so near.

A festival of life and being together was what they sought,
But a ruthless enemy came killed and fought.
In the far hut on the other side lay the bride and groom as seen in first light,
Laying their still in their blood stained clothing that used to be white.

Nothing we can do for this young married woman and man,
And our congress said we couldn’t even lift a hand.
We came here to fight an enemy of these people,
Where is the compassion? We could show maybe just a little.

A wedding festival and celebration,
A fun and joyful occasion;
It started as a festival but ended to be no party.
Why couldn’t we have been just a little less tardy?

Submitted for the July 2002 IWVPA Club Theme Project, “Festival