Walt “Doc” Cronin

ONLY EIGHTEEN

We was just kids…
getting’ a hold on…
getting’ a load on…
searchin’ our dreams.

We were just laughin’…
at all that had happened…
in our young short lives…
not even begun.

It was the Sixties…
nowhere to mix these…
troubled emotions…
that got me in jail.

No family to own me…
I found myself lonely…
got myself drafted…
for being eighteen…

only eighteen…
only eighteen…

I heard the judge sentence…
it’s Nam or detention…
To the court I did mention…
I was only eighteen.

In the time that I spent there…
I never could dare share…
the horror inside me…
with the boys that I knew.

only eighteen…
only eighteen…

And when I did come back…
There was only the dumb lack
of what I had seen there…
that had made me unreal.

Over and over…
I’m livin’ it over…
the loss and the horror…
of what I have seen.

only eighteen…
only eighteen…

I’ve nurtured an illness…
as deep as the stillness…
that lives in my dreams…
or so it may seem.

Deep in my night sweat…
I never can forget…
the lives that were forfeit…
for being eighteen…

only eighteen…
only eighteen…

Author’s Note: “Only Eighteen” is a song about a young man’s angst of going to war, and the severe effects on his psyche in its aftermath.