Russell G. Lee

DOWN TO THE RIVER

IWVPA Bronze Helmet Top Poet Award of Excellence October 2002It was many years ago today,
I took a trip to the river to pray.
Thinking of the souls of the men we lost;
The muddy flow into holocaust.

Oh, Brothers won’t you stay?
Stay a while, and stop and pray.
Think of the life you lead today:
Give the silent men their say.

I was up at the waters head,
Far from the mouth that claimed the dead.
I was a country and a half away
When I went down to the river to pray.

Oh, Mothers loose those tears;
They went for you tried to ease your fears
And sacrificed their golden years.
The price was so damn hard to pay.

I wondered what looked so wrong
With the water in the Mekong.
It was muddy but yet unstained
With the blood of the soldiers’ pain.

Oh, Fathers dry your eyes.
Since he was a babe, you had to realize
That when that little guy had grown to size
He might meet an early judgment day.

I went down to the river to pray;
A heartfelt thanks was sent their way.
Thanks for the life we live today
All freedom’s soldiers who have braved the fray.

Oh, People don’t forget;
Remember them and you won’t regret.
Live your lives in the fullest ways
And stop down by the river and pray……

Author’s Note: A haunting song sung by Alison Krauss performed on the “Oh’ Brother Where Art Thou” Soundtrack reminded me of a daytrip to the Mekong River near Vientiane, Laos in 1974. My prayer was silent but heartfelt as I thought of those, down river and back a few years, who saw things much worse than the quiet muddy flow that rolled on before me.