Anthony W. Pahl


We sat at sixty-war
And come home at half past four
With minds and hearts relieved
From the agony of truth perceived.

And in the aftermath,
We breathed the final gasp
Of solitude released
From the pain of war’s disease.

Our tears leached all the pain
As our minds were bleached from stain
And the grip of friendship’s hand
Granted future to our command

Angelic heralds softly played
While demons fought to stay
As the sixty something war
Became a part of who we were

That night no sirens disturbed
And peaceful song was heard
As we each looked into the depth
Of each other’s soul, and wept.
And angels of yesteryear
Witnessed joy instead of fear.

We sat at the witches’ hour,
And talked ‘til half past four
And in the aftermath
We came back home at last.

Author’s Note: In December 2001 two Vietnam Veterans, an Australian and an American, sat across a kitchen table in White River Junction, Vermont, USA and talked… and came home. This is part of that story. The poem is dedicated to my best friend, Richard D. “Boondocker” Preston.