David R. “Poppa” Alexander
Blue dark mountains, clear water and a stiff breeze
Lurking beneath the beauty is death.
No where on earth does the beauty of land compare
Vietnam is a wealth of beauty and culture.
Yet one misstep one mistake and it is death.
Green fields of rice, deep green jungles
Snakes, leeches, bugs and deadly animals
An enemy that wants to kill you
Beautiful blue green ocean water
White sandy beaches so white it makes one’s eyes hurt
Not a thing of danger in site
But you know that this is a false feeling for danger is everywhere.
A small village of locals, they seem so peaceful
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security
By day farmers that will wave and smile
By night VC that will cut your throat without hesitation.
Dry brown rice patties drained of their water and rice
Now places filled with snakes or worse
Dykes that allow passage from one side to the other
Trip wires, booby traps and ambush waits the unsuspecting.
Buddhist Temples, shaven headed men in orange sheet like clothing
They smile at you as you pass but no one really knows what they are thinking.
Beautiful statues and religious artifacts abound the area.
Tranquil and peaceful enough to lull one into carelessness
Young children, papasan and mommasan working in their crop:
Mommasan with black beetle-nut teeth, papasan with no teeth at all;
The children playing unaware of the danger and their part in it.
Then a child of no more than five or six, runs up for candy we think
A blast, a loud earth shattering blast
A young soldier giving away candy to the child
Both killed from the blast
VC had strapped two grenades to the child and told her to run up for candy.
The mommasan screams a shrill yell of woe
Poppasan falls to the ground in grief and tears roll down his face.
The child is no more; the soldier is no more;
Strange now they are together forever.
A strange but winding path through the beauty of the jungle
Birds, and insects all around, a comfort for the most part
As long as the birds are still here chances Charlie isn’t
But alas, a trip wire and another soldier dies as a booby trap impales him to a tree
No one can imagine the beauty
When death is so close at hand
No one can feel the struggle for each side to keep this land
Only a few can come out without a scar of body or mind.
To have found this land without the danger
To swim in its ocean
To visit its vast wood lands
To feel at peace under God’s own canopy
But it wasn’t to be
It isn’t a place for relaxation or fun
A country that has been at war for many, many years
Now controlled by our enemy.
Those people of honest, and hard working descent
Now again under the rule of a dictatorship of oppression
What a waste of natural beauty, lives and dreams
What a waste of young men that fought to free these people.
Yes you were, and my dreams you still are.
To have the wisdom, the dream, the beauty and no freedom
Maybe someday… maybe someday!
©Copyright July 24, 2003 by David R. Alexander