James H. Smith

HI-WAY 10

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: April 15, 2007
Awarded: April 15, 2007
We have walked throughout the night
Knowing we were headed for a ghastly sight
The battle had raged most of the night through
Walk, and try to get there and help was all we could do
The flares are dropping from planes over head
We pray we can get there before all are dead
We push hard through the jungle throughout the night
We move out on the hi-way with first light
What we see before our eyes
Would make most men cry
Of those we came to help, there are few alive
The ambush had swarmed over them, like bees from a hive
We collect the dead now, theirs and ours
As we went about our work, some smoked cigars
A tank with a blade, digs a hole beside the road
We must always bury their dead so we’ve been told
Or when we find them, if buried they be
Dig them up for others to see
We fill the hole and cover it now
How we got so many men in that hole, I know not how
It’s our people for whom we now must care
Their bodies must be moved out of there
We’ve lay them side by side along the road
Waiting for the choppers to get another load
I look down as I’m standing there
And see a young man, complexion so fair
A soft breeze blows through his hair
He looked as if he was just sleeping there
Why did men have to die here this day
Nether their men or ours wanted it this way
It’s the families, from both sides who lost today
Their men left them for a short time, never meaning to stay
We must ask, what price must we pay
Whose freedom was this, we fought for today