Mark I. Kirkmeyer

CHRISTMAS AT THE KOREAN DMZ

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
When all through the base
Activity was heavy, at a rapid pace;

Santa is coming but what do we care,
We all have an ambush we have to share.
The claymores are nestled all snug in there beds,
While wishes for heaters dance in our heads

Silence is broken, by a rustling sound,
Radio dead, starlight out, trigger I pound,
When out in the zone there arose such a clatter
Dreams of an early return have just been shattered.

‘Cease fire, cease fire’ the patrol leader had yelled
Long wait till daylight to see what we felled
First light on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave break from the darkness the night did know

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
A barren kill zone and one dead deer.
With little sound we leave at a good pace
We all know to well we’d be teased back at base.

More rapid than eagles, word of our new fame,
And they whistled, and shouted, and called us by name:
‘Now, DASHER! Now, DANCER! Now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! On, CUPID! On, DONDER and BLITZEN!’

The battalion was happy; all in good cheer.
We’d blown our load, and killed a deer.
As feces that travel in toilet go down,
We sulk back to the barracks, eyes on the ground

So this Christmas each of us truly knew,
Would be long and definitely blue.
In the depths of depression, not any hope
That this Christmas I would not be the dope.

As the sun climbed high, my salvation appeared
Some one had shot the barrel, everyone cheered.
He was dressed all in white, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with mud and soot;

His droll little mouth was drawn up in a pout,
And the hair on his head had long since fallen out;
The stump of a cigar held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath

A bulky green alice had flung on his back,
And he look like the sergeant major not giving slack.
His eyes, how they twinkled! His grimace how scary!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

He had a broad face and his voice held command
We normally respected and followed demand.
He walked from the cheers showing he still has his pride,
And I smiled when I saw him, drying the tears cried.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
He had intended to fill the barrel with lead,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, respect for us he shows;

Entered his office, to the staff gave a look,
away he did walk, the mess hall to see the cook
But I heard him exclaim, ere he slipped out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

Submitted for the December 2001 IWVPA Club Theme Project, “A Memorable Christmas