Colin F. Jones

WHY GO BACK?

I hear from veterans returning
from Asia to take a new look
That the Nam is a place that is stirring
With beauty and good things to cook

But I don’t recall all that beauty
As having an attraction for me
But then I was there on duty
Not walking around for a fee.

I remember the itches and vermin
That swapped all your blood with their muck
And the mossies so viciously determined
From your veins all your goodness to suck

I recall the water so toxic
That you’d die if you had a good drink
And the food was full of infection
In the air was an incredible stink

The leaches fed on you daily
And worms crawled into your gut
The air was so thick you could bite it
And you lived with a pain in your butt

The ladies there spat on the footpaths
And the coppers were killers in white
The locals would kill you for nothing
And you lived with the rat and the mite

Why would I want to go back
To a country of filthy terrain,
Where the rivers in town run black,
To catch malaria again?

No mate, you’ll never convince me
That Nam is a much cleaner place
Than it was when we poisoned the tree
And added to the toxic disgrace

It’s a vile and horrible place
Where civilised people get ill
Where soldiers rot without trace
Unfound some lying there still.