Warrior or Poet

Warrior or Poet

Still in Nam

It’s been 50 years since Vietnam

I’ve left that world behind

The memories and nightmares

Follow me from time to time


I went down to the Wall today

To visit Philips and Lamb

And while I was there I saw a face

From far off Vietnam


Would you look at here my wily friend

It’s been a long, long time

It’s good to see you here today

You’ve often been on my mind


I heard that you went back to school,

To finish your degree

You married your childhood sweetheart

And had two kids or was it three


I’ve had a rough year or two

Traveling from town to town

I cannot seem to find a spot

Where I want to settle down.


I do odd jobs from time to time

A Jack of all trades, that’s me

I just can’t seem to shake the past

It has such a strong hold on me


I remember the day, when we were hit

It hasn’t lessened with time

I know there’s nothing we could of done

But these memories linger on my mind


We were coming back to camp from our latest patrol

The undergrowth thick, the going slow

Philips was the first to go down

When he stepped on that trap, close to the ground


We picked him up and started back

Ever mindful of the chance of attack

“John Wayne” we shouted as we came in

“All is well” was the answer that came back again


We just made it back outside the compound

And that’s when Lamb, hit the ground

I can still hear the bullets as they whizzed by

The sound of the cicadas as they filled the sky


We were so close but so far away

We lost two heroes on that day

There were letters they wrote, while we were away

I promised to deliver, if they passed away


When our unit got back from Vietnam

I went to visit the families of Philips and Lamb

The visit didn’t last long, it’s really hard to tell

The loved ones of the fallen,of their last days served in hell


But time does fly and we move on

Should be a title to a song

Every night I return to the fight, the heat, and the fear

And the memories get stronger, year after year.


I can’t go back, except in my mind

It hasn’t changed anything, over all this time

But I often come to the wall, just to say hi

To tell them a story, share a drink, or just cry.


I didn’t mean to burden you with my troubles, now at hand

But only the ones who have been there will truly understand

It was nice to see you, give my love to kids and wife

It was an honor to have served with you, and these heroes in my life.



I reflect upon the things that I’ve seen

When I was nothing more than a teen

When I was young, my love was true

I served proudly the Red, White, and Blue


I was nothing more than a boy

When I was sent to fight against Hanoi

The evil I’ve seen,it will not stop

The Horrors of that time I have not forgot


I finally got back to this land

No longer a boy, but now a man

The gaps between my friends started to grow

They did not serve, they did not know


How do you tell someone who was not there

Why you get that thousand yard stare?

The ones at home, not deployed

Did not greet us with pride and joy


Even the Veterans of Foreign Wars

Would not welcome us in their doors

As the people passed us by

We heard their loud protesters cry


“We don’t want the war no more

What are we here fighting for?

It left us bitter, cynical, and cold

And now we are all growing old


They finally say “Welcome Home”

We are here, you are not alone

Do we forgive them for what they said?

The protesters cries still in our head


The Veterans of Foreign Wars

Now welcome us in their doors

“We are all comrades, proud and brave

They recognize the sacrifice we gave”


Decades pass, the time does fly

We no longer hear the protesters cry

The Patriot Guard was given birth

To protect the soldiers who left this earth


To make sure the families do not hear the cries

The dishonor to the soldiers who served with pride

The Run for the Wall, has grown each year

The people line the street and give a cheer


We support the ones, whose love is true

The Heroes of the Red, White, and Blue

My family is gone, and I lay alone

In my two bedroom mobile home


My hair is thinning and going gray

But these memories still won’t go away

How do you tell someone who was not there

Even now about that thousand yard stare?


3 thoughts on “Warrior or Poet

  1. Pingback: Warrior or Poet — Tales of an Asia Sailor – On the Patio

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