Anthony W. Pahl

DUST OFF

The distant throb of pulsing drums grows louder in my ears
the metal rain
the sting of pain
the hopelessness
and fear.

And the distant throb of pulsing drums grows louder in the sky
the press of wind
the metal sting.
My friend,
don’t let me die!

Now the pulsing drums are overhead, the metal basket lowered.
But I hear
no drums
I feel
no wind.

Author’s Note: Written on Anzac Day, 25 April 1988, this poem is dedicated to those who lost their lives in Vietnam. It relates the story of a Digger who died in the arms of his mate just as the Dust Off Chopper lowered the Stokes Litter through the canopy of the jungle. I was part of the crew of that chopper.