Gary Jacobson

I RISE

I rise!
Like attack Hueys in Vietnam’s dawning,
To greet fair morning still mourning
From the longest war in modern history
Forever bearing on my heart an embittered story
Of men borne in violent armies,
Wreaking disillusionment’s lies,
Drowned by a world of apologies.
Above it all, straight and tall,
I rise!

I rise…
From fevered death in the mud and blood
Memories arm-in-arm with Nam’s brotherhood
Guilt’s my soul still venting
In faith for war deeds done repenting
Remembering an old Vietcong
Who done me wrong
Who tried to put me down
His angered gun fired in hellish sound
Buried beneath Nam’s verdant ground
I rise!

I arise,
To hear again a South China sea rolling in
Driving tidal dins fomenting within
Pounding upon my now peaceful shore
Thoughts forged in war.
Duties I fought for in democratic ideals elect
On these tides of war I reflect
Still emerging from battle’s grim fires burning
From raging demons within still surging…
I rise!

I arise
Standing tall with piercing eyes
Having learned much to now advise
Bearing Vietnam’s sun, moon, and stars,
War only temporarily chars
Valiant hope shining higher
Higher than man’s foolish wars,
So, Ruthlessly,
Somberly…
I rise!

I rise!
Still weakened by Vietnam’s weary memory,
Still unable clearly the future to see,
Ashes of a lost time held deep inside
Of times when I thought I’d surely died.
Rivulets of teardrops for freedom’s fell
Ruined ideals in war’s bloody hell
Fast in the Nam growing suspect.
For home and country I stand erect,
I rise!

Yes, I rise
Did you think that I would fall,
Desecrate the memory of fallen all?
Did you think cruel hate could break me,
Keep me from the land of the free?
Did you think war’s evil incarnate,
Would my decayed old soul isolate
When still embers burn inside
Where still lies patriotic pride.
That indefatigable spirit deep abide.
I will rise!

I will rise
Still knowing Nam was a long, long road
In naïve innocence young men strode,
Seeking for another, freedom’s fair abode.
Sure, Satan insured wars ways rocky hard,
Wedged deep in my heart,
Hating enmities he did impart
Deeply embedded as a cutting shard
Giving that forever thousand yard stare
I stare daily across my yard.
But from all this I will rise!
I will rise!

I rise
In revered remembrance of brothers
By cruel war consumed like Phoenix feathers
Fallen in bloody fear
Fallen in Hell’s jungled year
Remember awful things we had to do,
To preserve freedoms for me and you.
I remember a protesters hating word
Their shooting arrows still Absurd,
I remember those I loved,
Their cutting eyes…
but from pettiness, I’ll rise!

I’ll rise
From life’s values diminution.
I’ll rise
From very life’s course disruption.
I’ll rise
From the pain to kill or be killed.
I’ll rise
Now returned to a land
No longer of milk and honey,
No longer fanned
By fanciful breezes bright and sunny.
For though I played war’s game,
Fought a war rooted in shame
I’m no longer naïve
I’ve gained reprieve…
And now I rise!

I am arisen
From jungle depths of horror loosen.
Arisen
From hell’s dark prison,
To seek peace in the world
Harmonic sound by rippling water pearled
Made wondrously clear
So all mankind may hear.

I rise!
I am a man you see.
I am a man!
The master of my destiny
I will not
From this final battleground flee,
I have learned lessons taught of history
Of wars utter futility
Complete depravity.
Now if by my words only others could see
Peace in human love desirability
Sadder but wiser
Soul tested by Nam’s refiner’s fire.
I rise!

I rise
From the ashes of cruel war
That left a poor soul blackened sore
I rise
From hell’s soul-blistering contagion
I arise
From hating’s conflagration
I rise
Now reaching to touch the skies…
The warrior’s prize
I am a man
Oh God,
I am a man!
I shall rise!

Gary Jacobson: I Rise
My heartfelt thanks to Nancy Meek, creator of this beautiful graphic…