Gary Jacobson

HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING?

O, how can I keep from singing?
I’m going home
Thank God, at last I’m going home
To a place my restful soul can at last atone
Free at last from making this fevered land free
O, the parades I’ll see
From a thankful nation back home waiting.
Abiding patiently is that nation I fought for
Almost died for
Gratefully loving
This favored son they sent far away to do his duty
I’ll come home to open arms spread welcoming
To an indebted nation deeply caring
Beholden that for them I’ve fought the good fight
But now I’m leaving this warring land behind
To trade my hating for the loving mind
For peace I hope to find
O yes, how can I keep from singing.

I’ve suffered agony in sweet and sour struggles
Fought through deep dark jungles
Moving hard and wicked fast
Lost in Hell I thought would forever last
God’s loving precepts in me forever dashed
Fought increasing pain rising of brother Cain
Held a buddies head dying in monsoon rain
Victims of Nam’s discordant brawl
Offering to warrior God’s my life
My all.

I’m leaving that land where I learned to shoot to kill
Until I thought nothing of it
Fitfully dodging the bullet still
With my name on it
Where I killed to survive
Walking the edge of just staying alive
In my longest year
In dark shadow body and soul did commandeer
I lost the boy and became a man
Warring inside and out.
Living in wall-to-wall fears and doubt
Repelled by the guilt I bore
From that dirty little jungle war
Dread rising again and again
Where I lived through night and day nightmares
Till wearied, the fabric of my soul tears.

I’m sore afraid,
As memories fade.
Because even I don’t know me anymore
So when I walk through that door
How can the ones I love so, know me
Now free
From worry about people trying to kill me
In contentious land of hateful dissension
Constantly looking over my shoulder in apprehension
Still wrestling with the shackles of ancient agitation
How can I now go back
With heart drained morbid black
Grimly glad it’s him dying and not me gratification
Ridden by guilt in that grisly satisfaction
To where I was the cream of the crop of a nation
Distressed of body and soul, but wiser now
I’ve shucked war’s quarrelsome row.

O, how can I keep from singing?
I’m going home
Thank God, at last I’m going home
To a place my restful soul can at last atone
Free at last from making this fevered land free
O, the parades I’ll see
From a thankful nation back home waiting.
Abiding patiently is that nation I fought for
Almost died for
Gratefully loving
This favored son they sent far away to do his duty
I’ll come home to open arms spread welcoming
To an indebted nation deeply caring
Beholden that for them I’ve fought the good fight
But now I’m leaving this warring land behind
To trade my hating for the loving mind
For peace I hope to find
O yes, how can I keep from singing.