Gary Jacobson

THEY TELL ME IT’S CHRISTMAS

They tell me its Christmas
But here I am, surrounded by perplexing enigmas
Like, would ya believe, by golly
That in this land of pain and folly
No warrior in my foxhole’s really jolly
And in Nam’s motley jungle there’s nary a twig of holly.

I’m dumbfounded by irreverently unholy dogmas
Silent nights filled with life or death dilemmas
We’re poor little boys silently praying for our mammas
Finding no pleasure in killing fields preposterous
Where people try to kill me in the Nam blasphemous
No, nowhere to be found here is Father Christmas.

There’s just us soldier boys on the big campout
Fighting in our life’s greatest bout no doubt
Where all values in life painfully taught
By parents, teachers, society carefully wrought
Torn by the cruel war turned upside down
As by violent explosion asunder blown.

There are no jingle bells in the Nam’s arsenal of hells
Ringing slowly, solemnly,
Like funeral knells by some Cong home boy elves
Walking their mortars into our perimeter
To joyfully bring the chance all life to surrender
But what ya gonna do, in dinky dau sweet-and-sour dew?

There’s nothing to do but knuckle down
Buckle down
And do it, do it, do it
To survive, to stay alive.
Hoping someday soon your loving family to grace
Back in the world to embrace

Try to resume your life
Tumultuous mid war’s toil and strife
Life and death teetering on the line sublime
Pride, joy gusto, fear mingle in disappointment of discontent
Knowing you’re forever changed
By war your life evermore rearranged.