Christina A. Sharik

A POW’S CHRISTMAS LIST

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: December 18, 2003
Awarded: December 18, 2003
Dear Santa Claus:

Well, you must think it’s silly
for me to send this list to you
At this point in my life, though,
I thought I would try something new.

And what the heck, I might as well
take a deep breath, and start to tell
you what I’d like to have this year
So Santa Claus, let me have your ear.

I’d like my mom and dad to know
that I still love and miss them so –
My wife and all my children, too
I wonder if they believe in you.

Near the top of this list, so long,
is Freedom, for I’ve been long gone.
I am so sad, I am so weary
Send me home, Santa, for I am teary.

I’ve tried my best. I have been brave –
send me home, Santa, my soul to save.
I cannot last much longer here
Send me a blanket and a bottle of beer

See if you can reach the Powers That Be
and make them work for release of me.
I don’t want much, old Santa, dear
Just to go home, and get out of here.

I’ll leave sweet rice for you on Christmas Eve
Please help me, Santa, help me leave.
I want to go home, live a normal life
See my children, and hug my wife

God help me, Santa, as I turn to you
Set me free, and the others, too.
It may seem like an awful chore
but I’ve never written to you before.

Santa, I’ve tried every angle and twist
since I crashed here in a jungle mist.
I just thought I’d try – I’m a desperate man –
Please get me home if you think you can.

Author’s Note: For all POWs and MIAs – Never Forget

Mike and Marlene McGrath
Mike and Marlene McGrath: May 2006
Dear Christina…

Thank you for the great poem… and for remembering all those who suffer at the hands of an enemy. So your poem won’t be lost (in my ever growing pile of papers), I am info copying your work to my friend, Mary Schantag of POW Network. She just might have a niche for it. She has a great web site and lots of works, bios on POWs, info on MIAs, and on-and-on. Be sure to visit her web site at: www.pownetwork.org

Thanks again… now it’s time to go help Marlene set the table; 10 friends coming for dinner tonight.

Merry Christmas from someone who closely identifies with your poem. And, you probably didn’t realize it, but you hit the nail on the head with a touch of humor. The line about the “beer” is just great. It is exactly what we would have said. Up-tight old fogies might say to you, how could you put in that levity about the beer? But, the truth be known, that is exactly what we would have said (and many of us did say it), just for a Christmas moment we would have rather have had a “beer” than a more healthy glass of milk. I never did get the healthy glass of milk, but by golly they did give me a beer once to celebrate their Tet. And we drank it… for the vitamins and nutrients, of course.

Sincerely,
Your POW…

Mike McGrath
NAM-POW Historian
www.nampows.org

Webmaster’s Note: Mike McGrath was a POW of the North Vietnamese for 6 years