Richard D. Preston

THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry
Awarded: January 9, 2004
Minds drifting, lost in the jungles mist,
Decades of loneliness and loved ones missed
A homeland clouded by torture and pain
Will my body rest upon American soil again?

Was my home but a young mans dream?
Foreign names such as Montana are screamed
I believe that was where my soul was born
It’s been so long that my sanity is torn

What year is this, where have I been?
My last recollection was Con Thien
The cage, the chains, the march of death
Head held inches above water gasping for breath

I think as a man, in words I understand
As I sit in darkness wringing my scarred up hands
But when I speak and when I plead
The language I utter is Vietnamese

God, my hope has faded; it has been way to long
I was young and with age my strength is gone
The faces of my family are strangers to me
How long, how long, have I been in captivity?

lạy Chúa!, lạy Trời!
không đâu bằng ở nhà mình
nó bị người khác khống chế
bộ danh từ chiến sĩ vô danh
lạy Chúa!, lạy Trời! Phóng khác khống

(Roughly Translated)

Please God
There’s no place like home
I cannot call my soul my own
Set free, the Unknown Soldier
Please God, release my soul

Take me home,
That I may drift no more…