Gary Jacobson

ONLY NINETEEN

I was only nineteen
Only nineteen
Not old enough to buy a drink
But old enough to die in abbreviated life succinct
Sent to war by old men who sit and sigh
Pointing at war-maps where fallen in battle I lie
Life gouged out of me mid fetid green marzipan
Just a pawn in the plan for Vietnam
My last days discordantly sung
Severed frail existence from me woefully wrung.

I was only nineteen…
Only nineteen
Fallen dead, with so much future to live for
God willing, I could touch thousands as an educator
Each student of mine, influencing thousands more
Who’d each influence many thousands more…
God willing, I could entertain millions as an actor
God willing, I could bring truth in justice as an advocator
I could be a concert pianist, an ambassador, a peacemaker.

I was only nineteen…
Only nineteen
God willing, I could have brought tears as a great tenor
I could have revolutionized America as a great inventor
God willing, I could of great books be the author
God willing, I could be this country’s greatest leader…
God willing, this fledgling warrior, fallen forlorn on vacuous sod,
Might have been a humble man of God…

If I had lived, I might’ve fostered a great family
Nurturing buds in burgeoning heritage of posterity
Children, and grandchildren galore gathering around my knee
Each child with a blossoming future of his own, you see
But it was not to be, my dream… this great legacy
For by the warrior’s sword, in the mud and the blood it died
Without great fanfare, only my mother cried
For I was only nineteen… Only nineteen.