Gary Jacobson

FOOL SUCH AS I

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I’m writing from a fighting hole
Bleak and weary
Eyes jaded from constantly searching to see
Charley lurking in this jungle dark and dreary
Dedicated to nothing more than to kill me…
Preoccupied with my dying.
I know death is somewhere out there
Surely in wait for me lying…
But whether death comes today
Or the next
I bite the bullet sent my way…
“The Nam” will forever my being vex
Forever wounded body and spirit hex.

I know now just how much I’ve lost
Appreciate for the first time
How great the cost
To a fool such as I,
Come here to this land of hate for to die.

I never really knew how much I loved my home
Before I left for war’s folly adventuresome
How dear were everyday parts of life
Taken for granted before I was handed
A gun and a knife…
Sent so far away to kill or be killed.

Oh what a fool am I…
I just hope I get one more chance
Before in this lonely fighting hole I die
In life’s temporary abeyance…
To tell you,
I mean really tell you…
How much I love you mother
Father, sister, brother…
And tell Laura I love her
I’m always thinking of her.

I had the riches of the world
In bounty unfurled
Laid before me
Surrounded by a loving family
Friends, church and neighbors teaching
This budding flower of youth nurturing
The brightest hope for future of our nation
Sharing elation in adoration
This favored son
Loving
This wayward son
Along life’s straight and narrow guiding,
Instilling goodly values
This great land imbues,
Before with wartime hates colliding.

Now sitting in this fighting hole I know
I’ll never again be that naive boy
I once was whole.
My innocence this war will destroy.
I’ve seen and done too much.
Cruel war did my excellence in virtue debauch.
I’ve witnessed men and nations at their worst.
In tears my naive bubble burst…

O I’m a fool, don’t you see
Realizing too late the wealth I had around me.
I’m a fool my darling, ‘cause I love you…
Now I may never more see you.
And if I do,
Will you like what war has made of me,
The demons I’ll forever carry deep inside of me?
Can you abide that war I will eternally fight
My quest to finally make things right?

Now sitting
Writing
Of the good life dreaming
In forlorn fighting hole dark and dreary
Beleaguered spirit torn and weary
Waiting…Waiting…Waiting.
O what tales I’ll have to tell by the fireside…
O how I’ll kiss that soil back stateside
Back in the land more than life I love
Take me back
To the land I traveled so far away to serve
Take me back
Back to those welcoming arms
Before I traveled into a land of guns and harms,
In my great war with no better prospect than to die!
If I do,
I’ll wait for you,
In heavenly courts on high.

Now I’d better put this letter by I’m writing
Cause I hear them coming
Now
Gliding through jungle tares seeping, creeping
So close by now
Vile hatreds curled crinkling their brow
I can almost touch them now
Feel their hot breaths heated so
In writhing throe
Venomous curses slithering
Softly in silence slinking
Their violent intent keeping
Through intemperate jungles flow
Where “wait-a-minute” tangles entwining grow.

Time to distill fruits pure hatred does bestow.
Time to reap the harvest warriors sow.
My rising blood
Steeled to fight the good fight
A fight only soldiers know…
Hold your breath…Quiet now…or you’ll die now!
Curdled breathlessly now…
Time for a little more of me to die…
Tomorrow I’ll ask why.

Dear friends…

I just received a letter about one of my poems that touched me to the quick, with sweetest sentiments I feel moved to share…from the daughters of Bill Trader, the writer of the song “Fool Such As I,” which is the background song inspiring my poem of the same name, “Fool Such As I”

Gary Jacobson
July 29, 2004

I must admit I have an ulterior motive for finding the poem written with the background music of “A Fool Such As I”. You see, my father was Bill Trader, author and composer of this wonderful song. He passed away at the age of 81 this past year, October 26, 2003. During one of my many melancholy moments, researching the many times the title has come up on the Internet, I found your poems. I am 56 years old, well acquainted with the Vietnam years, and lost several friends and school acquaintances in Vietnam. I feel I can speak for the Trader family in expressing how honored we are that you chose this song as a background for your poem. Dad was a Veteran also, having been a frogman and demolition expert in the Navy in WW-II. I can’t think of a better way to honor my father, I only wish he were here to read it. Keep up the good work, you have a rare talent.

Thank you again.
Lynn Trader Lynch
Shirley Trader Anderson