Gary Jacobson


Along the perfumed Oriental river
Lies the promise given peace to deliver
To a gentle land rocked by war.
By embattled gladiators, boys next door.

Fighting through grievous horrors soldiers bore
Born with wonder to last evermore.
What are we here for,
In this sweet and sour perfumed land,
Fighting communist Vietcong on every hand?

While for gentle people life goes inexorably on,
A child’s purity is life’s greatest bastion,
For their laughter gives the warmth of the sun.
Kindly grandfathers still love these dear children.
While warriors contend with politics Con,
Peasants find shelter from tribulation’s din.

‘Mid a life and death passion play through generation’s reborn,
Traditions seem bleak in rice paddy harvest,
All civility around villagers contentiously shorn,
Villagers seeking remittent rest.

In this land of mystic wonders lore
My brothers we fought for freedoms for
A Vietnamese people just seeking democracy,
Imploring their brothers help from across the sea,
Wanting to be free…
Just like you and me.

Peasant folk in this pungent land pristine
Exist mid war’s almighty conflagrations
In an oft repeated scene
Finding solemn peace mid war’s destructions.

Rebel soldiers infiltrate the innocent’s midst
Differing sides mightily contesting
Relentlessly persist,
With severely sharpened tongues attest
Forcefully on their self righteous bearing,
On being the only one right insist.

Brothers in contentious contending
Engendering wrathful, acrid hating
Swirling eddies of flowing speech bitterest hearing,
In fractious conversations brotherhood’s erupting.

Words heated till a boiling pot’s overflowing,
As Vietnam’s north and south, each other resist.
Each holding genuine believing
Their own philosophy for their country is best
By far consisting of right minded thinking,
Each ready and willing to start the killing,
Their right way thus proving.

American pawns sent into this civil war floundered divisive,
Drawn into the killing zone to be killed;
Fighting in actions to lives and futures decisive.
Sweet innocence pours out, flagrantly spilled
Onto rich dark soil by humanity enriched
With soldiers seeping blood
Bitter lambs on war’s alter sacrificed
To sorely grieve the tempestuous flood.

American boys fight for Vietnam’s right headlong,
Right yet somehow left wrong
Struggling with actions authoritative
Weighed against moral imperative,
Suffering rogue bullets who death’s questions ask,
Killing officially their favorite task.

Our boys so brave,
Sanctioned freedom’s to save
Weary souls singing of war’s plight
Boys sent to their rest by furtive Vietcong,
Face untold horrors that into very souls bite,
Shouting a rancorous forever of memories song.

In a sweet and sour land sublimely serene,
Life rages on through killings and abductions
Torn from a simple life austerely lean,
Wielding revolting insurrections.
Yet gentle people find a way to exist
Hatreds swirling around them to resist.

Special gentility coexists beside war,
To go on with life as all about you are losing theirs.
Vietnam’s conscience on its sleeve bore
Wears civilization’s tarnished tears.
As Vietnam’s desecration brought untold desolation
In a grave laid waste before them seen.
A once treasured Persian land lies in ruination
Living a life undeservedly from war they glean.

Gentle children sharpened by war benefits are reaping
Of a severe war which hating weans
Capriciously amid the rubble, gambling
Whether or not children will make it to their teens.

Amid humanity crumbling,
A shattered society growing
Children’s lives determining
depend on war’s fate
Life swirling among hatreds berate.

Raised with hate a constant diet,
Gentle children’s eyes retain vitality.
In a world where sensibilities riot,
Wizened eyes spite war’s ineffable cruelty,
Withered right
Impairs prosperity
Fast vanishing war’s blight.

Where life and laughter grow not yet taboo
Children it seems become immune to war’s finality.
Ignoring hatreds boiling around them gently eschew
As old men pray to escape war’s finite banality.