Gary Jacobson

NAM’S EASTER MEMORY

Hallelujah, it’s Easter in the Nam!
Here between blistering firefights rests an eerie calm.
Oh softly beams bright sunshine’s morning ray
On verdant green clad jungle hill far, far away
Where in radiance beams the sun above
Reflecting the Master’s love
His love warming more than noonday sun,
Chase sobered thoughts of hate, war and gun.

For peace sings in my heart today
Where on bended knee I stoop to pray
Welcoming that great day
In a foxhole forlorn in bleak and weary fray,
Desirous of His holy redemption…
From the killing fields, salvation,
Only for me, there is no redemption!
Count on this bloody war’s continuation.

Charlie still looks to kill you.
You still look to kill Charlie, too.
But something’s wrong
Sung in this discordant song.
Comes Peter cottontail a hopping, it makes no sense
Down the trail hopping through my perimeter of defense
Just a bopping through minefields of my mind
Down that bunny trail through concertina wire unwind.

Peter Cottontail hops and skips over my claymore
Unconcerned with this explosive war carnivore
Whose shrapnel could in his furry hide tear a new one
Out there Peter, that son-of-a-gun
Couldn’t hide, couldn’t run
In my field of fire mad minute of the gun
Where hot lead would his wicker basket impale
Ringing that furry mop’s fuzzy bell
Spread colorful Easter eggs all over verdant hell.

I shake my head, open my eyes… I don’t see Peter
I don’t see any lilies of the field either…
I don’t see any crosses in Nam’s unfathomable abysses
But feel intimately my grievous losses
Familiar with sacrifice in war’s blind toss of the dice
Lost, abandoned in a land where death looms all round
Morbid fear reverberating in every out-of-place sound
Unholy fear stuck to your tongue with misery profound.

Yet, in Easter lies hope eternal in war tempest tossed
Lies my dreams, feeds my intimate loss
In the shadow of the Nam’s unholy cross
Wherein lies innocence, oh how great the cost
Here in Nam lies my boyhood, my very childhood
My gung-ho naïve soul, forever lost in feral wood
Unprepared for sorrow wrought in sacrificial violence bought
Vestiges of goodness in free thought depths this Easter besought.

Like Nam’s sweet and sour, born in hell’s hour
Good and bad memory impart to the human heart
Bearing a bane on this most sacred of days ripped apart.
Nam’s Easter memory bringing both joy and pain;
Memory of delight of hearth and home in ecstasy proclaim
While ne’er forgotten faces in our hearts bring blame
We cry “Why are You not with us in our manifest destiny
Beside us now in this grim little war so tiny,
Beside the cavalry on Nam’s greening field of Calvary?”

From peaceful Easter morn
This beleaguered soldier forlorn
Yet smiling, laughing, joking, pretending every hour
With sentiments sweet-and-sour
Trying to elude death’s awful face so dour
Finds no peace in the world to be found
Where I die too, in fated memory so profound
Feeding, nourishing Nam’s fallow hallowed ground.

On this holy day I look to the Lord
Lower in honor my warrior’s sword
Easter bursting in my heart with awed reverence
All hating temporarily foresworn in abstinence.
I try hard to find again that loving veneration
That once filled my hungry soul before its ablation
Still wondering how I lost it… and why
Still wondering why in the heart of my soul… I cry.