Gary Jacobson


One day as I humped Vietnam’s green clad park
Shadowed by evil demons from dawn till dark,
I spied my true fairest brother, like no other
Who had watched my back like he was my father.

My brother lay coldly stiff upon green verdant ground
Truly beyond quiet, no movement, no sound.
Stark horror lay frozen upon his boyish face;
Touching it I felt of life’s breath no trace.

So beat your drums slowly… play your pipes lowly
Play the dead march as you bear him along
Take me to verdant fields, and throw the ground over me
For I’m a young newbie, and I know I’ve done wrong.

Once back in the world I used to look handsome
Before fighting this communist horde in their jungle of doom.
Once back in the world I used to dress well
Before post war demons imposed their shell of hell.

Weep for my brother, lost in raucous battle din
I just sat on my helmet, right there, and stared at him.
A primal scream wrinkling boyish lips deathly and still,
Just taking a rest from contentious combat drill.

I wondered that death could so easily be
For this goodly man who fought only for liberty.
Some say he answered the call to a higher place
Having found at last an eternal kiss of peace.

But as for me, I do not in this life know…
I only know that where he went, I do not want to go
Zipped in a body bag as cold as the clay
My brother freed at last from battle’s fiery array.

‘Now I drink and I party, just trying to forget
Dry my tears… drown Nam’s horrors just a bit
No longer a newbie, on the fast road to poverty, then to my grave.
Once I saved the world… now it’s me they need to save.

Oh come my dear mother, sit down beside me
Oh sit beside me
Please pity my case…
I can’t stand my life, what I’ve made of this place
For my head it is aching, my heart it is breaking
With sore soldier’s lament, I know I done wrong.

As I stare at the walls
Stare over purple mountain majesty as daylight falls
Out my window, over the deep blue sea
Where Nam waits every day for me.

Oh send for my brothers to heal trauma’s tragedy
Oh send for the chaplain to pray o’er my body
Oh send for the medic to heal sore wounds in battle found
Wounds that do not heal in my soul abound.

Oh send for the young man that went gung-ho naive
That I may tell him, Nam’s no reprieve.
Lamenting for his dance with an evil grim reaper
Called out by a VC gunslinger, his ever after life keeper.

Oh send for the young soldiers to carry my coffin
Oh send for a young man to sing me a song
Get four pretty girls with a bunch of red roses
To place on my coffin as you carry me along.

Gary Jacobson: Combat Solders’ Lament