Gary Jacobson

VIETNAM’S VERDANT JUNGLE

From off the South China Sea hot east winds blow
Upon sandbag bunkers lined all in a row
Wafting over a verdant green jungle war of hate
Over shifting sands where hostilities profligate
We boys greet each morning, tempting bitter fate,
In a land where over the decades killings perpetuate.

Green grows the variegated jungle over fallen ghosts
Who once humped rice paddies of Vietnam hosts,
Like the jungle, shades of life here are variegated,
According to our sergeants very life’s overrated
As we patrol the verdant green park
Chalky sweat roiling down faces honey dewed bark
Living in monsoon rains from daydawn into dark…

Politicians took up this quarrel with the Vietcong foe,
Sent a nation of boys where the brave dare not go
Courageously into the land of the gun
Irrepressible heat wilting under the hot Vietnamese sun
Taught to hate and kill, what will our future bestow,
In Vietnam’s green verdant jungle grow?

Do we dead still feel that ancient quarrel
Putting all loving in peril,
When war’s horrors revisit, lock, stock and barrel?
Heat, death and fear vie for attention
Darkest hour Memories held for a lifetime introspection
Forever mocking with deceitful refrain
Breaking faith, our cruel death was in vain.

Fighting in Nam’s jungles in our mind still raves.
Nam’s verdant jungle marks our poor graves,
As our country its warriors now sometimes depraves.
Though doves over meadows of our mind’s eye
Still bravely with honor fly,
With songs they are singing refuting war’s great lie.

We lived to make it back from that land of ghosts,
Our inner voice now incredulously boasts,
Though guilt abounds from pillar to post.
Still every night we’re back there,
Again with our buddies heartaches to share,
Again in that bitter heated wind,
Wafting perpetually off the South China Sea coast