Gary Jacobson


A year in Nam is a year in hell,
All things conspiring to make life swell.
At any given moment, Charley will engage,
With a home field advantage,
For in the Nam, weather is a weapon,
Charley often calls upon
Monsoons flood, mud and blood,
Making you dodge the bullet
With your name on it
Forever drenched to the skin
In the clammy night freezing,
Forever struggling,
Forever sweating,
Forever fearing,
Life’s values forevermore queering,
Forever fighting to regain control,
Spirits wildly careening.

Yet pundits back home say,
In a most scholarly, objective way.
“I’ve looked at your life in Nam selectively,
Its duration assessed quantitatively,
And it seems quite plain to me,
You see,
You win some,
And you lose some.

You must not dwell on it.
I completely understand it,
The fears relapsing through the years.
I know when you came home,
You didn’t hear many cheers.
I know we weren’t there for you then.
And for that I apologize
I truly sympathize.
But just let go of it.
Holding onto memories won’t do any good a bit.
It’s such a simple thing to do,
Turn your mind to something new.”

But how can you let go,
When you’ve walked through the valley shadowed?
When beside still waters of death you’ve strolled,
Nam’s blood forever scarring the soul,
Wreaking a deadly, daily toll.

How can some people be so “clueless,”
So mindless,
So utterly droll?
Don’t they really know?
Makes me wish they had been the ones
To Vietnam had to go!
Who can ever know,
They might not have lost their lives there,
Just their sanity.
Their friends
Their innocence
Their values
Their love for fellow man
Their trust in government
Their trust in authority
Their faith