Nancy L. Meek


I walked behind you there
As you pointed to the graves
Stretched beside your LZ Betty home,
Went on tour with you through morning haze.

With weary eyes ever-watching,
You described how, through the night,
You hugged the dirt in fear.
The fear there would be no morning light.

I was there beside you when you grinned
Ear-to-ear at the buddy with his ready lens,
The day those snipers shot at you, but missed.
You told me a sense of humor was good defense

To keep your sanity against man’s inhumanity…
Yes, I was there, listening to your every word,
Without question or pause, taking it all in,
How each grievous death was so absurd.

You fainted not when the bullets came
Whizzing past us in the jungle steaming.
A penny for your thoughts on how you held on,
Knowing your mother’s son was not dreaming.

You showed me your muddy poncho
Wrapped around you in your fox-hole home;
And explained that even though others were there,
You still felt so forgotten, so horribly alone.

I stepped through Asian sludge with you,
Knowing I still had a way out of the muck and mud
But feeling guilty about leaving you there by yourself
To deal with your buddy moaning in a pool of blood.

So, I hung on for a while longer, feeling helpless,
Covering my ears to the sound of the screaming eagle
As you gazed on his regal flight, wishing you were he,
But knowing to escape the horror would be illegal.

You told me dark secrets, hoping I would understand.
I wanted to so badly, so I stuck around, learning.
You spoke of the wish to be free from night fears,
Of harming the one you love… oh, what yearning!

I was there looking over your tired shoulders
Telling those reporters off in such a fine way,
How we needed to avoid a repeat of history,
That our babies deserve a brighter day.

Teacher, you are not finished by a long shot.
Keep up the good fight and your poet’s pen to page.
I will be there listening, reaching out, breathless
To one soldier of God’s love, standing center stage.

A response to the poem, “A Combat Soldier’s Prayer” – ©Copyright 2002 by Gary Jacobson