Poetry Section

BALLAD OF A WOMAN VETERAN
(Written by F. Warman)

I was a soldier, a fighter tried and true
You may not remember me, but I went there for you
I had my share of combat, I saw the blood and gore
But somehow I'm forgotten when they tell about the war.

They say we weren't real soldiers
Even though our blood was spilled
They forget about our wounded
They forget abut our killed
Some say that we just partied there
And enjoyed our deadly chore
How I resent those lies about me when they tell about the war.

I'm a woman and a veteran
I say it with great pride
Having given of my very best, there's nothing I need to hide
And now I have the right to ask that the burden that I bore
Always be remembered when they tell about the war.

(Provided by Jan Woods)



    Pat Hewatt
SEASONS OF SEIGE
VIETNAM TWENTY YEARS AFTER
(A poem in 5 parts)
I

The nameless, faceless
rank and file that
thunders through my dreams
calls red alert
to already cautioned sleep.

One by one I wave
a sleepy farewell
to those round-eyed boys
gone to fight a killer
that still sleeps in my bed
II

What camouflage can
disguise a heart
whose beat
is tapped out by bones
on shell case droppings,
metered by staccato mortar,
martyred by the shell-shocked,
tone-deaf third chairs
of last year's high school
marching band?
III

We danced on the edge of an open grave.
Slipped `round mounds
of dusty red clay.
Hot and humid
clashed with Cutty Sark.
Perfumes and after shaves mingled
into that inevitable tropical sweet sweat.
You in your khaki's
me in some yellow-daised flounce
sent from home with love and fear.

A two-day stand down at Long Binh
was a shoddy farewell from this earth---
RX, PX, a steak and some beer.
And the dance.
Then back to Pineapple Plantation,
that fatal fruited LZ
that flashed a napalm dawn. And death.
You returned to Long Binh---
but to Quartermaster this trip.
No khaki. Green.
And three days ago we danced.

Today I feel the earth splitting
just so long and just so wide
six feet of georgia clay at my side.
My toes are tapping last notes
as I wait in my daisied dress

Who will dance with me?
IV

I froze staring at your
slicked back hair
black where it once was blonde

I saw your eyes
stitched closed
where once they were blue
Your mouth
stuffed quiet with cotton
jaws set, lips pursed forever

Where are you now, Alan
twenty years alive. Twenty years dead.
Life couldn't hold you
Death didn't flatter you
V

I'll kiss your lips
and free the words still there
if you are unable to speak

I'll clasp your hand
and gently lead you
when your footsteps make no path

I'll hum you songs
whose words haved faded
but whose melody lingers

I'll do all this and more
if you'll tell me just one time
what it's like to be dead

© 2000 by Pat Hewatt   Any print, copy or reproduction requires expressed written consent of the author
_________________________________________________________
DA LAT 1967
Da Lat, the city of flowers
was brilliant with soon-to-be bouquets
for slender young brides.
Their Oie-dies flapped
in the highland breeze.
Scarlet hues radiated like passion
that now only budded in blushes.
Everywhere color flashed
in the labyrinth of crowded, pot-holed streets
lined with tin hooches
and low slung, bone-white
stucco buildings---
grudging gifts from the French---
whose clay tiled roofs smiled upward.
Pedicabs and peddlers hustled and hawked.
The only thing booming was business.

The new year, starting with a bang,
changed forever
the petal-perfectness of this garden in the east.
Pots holes disappeared into bomb craters
as did half the town.
Black clad brides lit josh sticks---smoldering reminders of passion
that burned out but never flamed.

The bouquets of flowers,
dead now, were pressed under
frowning roof tiles and ruble.
They marked no occasion
witnessed no ceremony
But made a fitting shroud
for Da Lat, the city of flowers.

© 2000 by Pat Hewatt   Any print, copy or reproduction requires expressed written consent of the author
_________________________________________________________________________



 Penni Evans
FROZEN IN BRONZE
Who are you, my sister
I look into your eyes and see my soul
You are frozen in bronze forever young
What are your memories, your thoughts
What words have been spoken for your ears only
The secrets you hold in your heart are mine also

Will your voice ever be heard
Can the words locked so deep within
Ever be free to drift on the wind
Can the night of endless dark
Ever become the dawn of a new day
Will we as sisters ever heal
From wounds suffered in silence a lifetime ago

We were healers warriors and angels of truth
No matter what clothes we wore
Nor where we worked nor the time we served
Our duties may have been varied
But my sister we were all there together
We can come visit you
And in so doing
We can visit the self we left behind

So many years
So many tears
So many memories ago

© 2000 by Penni Evans                                                Memorial, D.C. '93
_______________________________________________________________________________________
SOUVENIRS
                           Sometimes they were small items
Pinned on jackets or hats
Othertimes they were photographs
Of those we once were

At times they were items
Captured on the field of battle
or bought in the stalls of the abundant markets
Or in the bars and clubs by Saigon warriors

 Many times they were shipped home to be forgotten
Where they remained in closets and footlockers
Sometimes they were even hung proudly on walls
Or displayed on a special shelf in the den

But they also were the nighttime sweats
The startled reactions and flashbacks
 Brought home against our will
They are the voices from the past

They are the faces that never change
Souvenirs brought home which are unwanted
Uninvited they stay with us and are as important
 As those tangible ones that came home in our luggage

How to sort through and decide what to keep
 What can be thrown away without guilt and pain
 But flashbacks arenít given the choice of being
They just are and come without fanfare or warning

Souvenirs of the soul we left behind
 Lost in that time and place
Yet staying with us in thoughts and actions
Can they ever be cleaned and polished for display
© 2000 by Penni Evans
_______________________________________________________________________________________
TEARS

Slowly they come
But even more slowly they fall
Not to stay long
Not this time at all

And yet they are here
So deep within me
The tears that I shed
On the inside they fall

The tears that I've held
For so many years
Will they release
When I stand at the Wall

© 2000 by Penni Evans
_______________________________________________________________________________________
AMBUSHED

I call out
My voice
Caught in the
Vortex of
Inner space

Asking Why

Unending echoes
Ricochet across
My mind

As Vietnam
Once again
Ambushes
My soul

© 2000 by Penni Evans
_________________________________________________________________________________________
SILVER NAME

Who are you
Silver name
Etched on
A band of steel

Wrapped tightly
Around the wrist

Of those who
Dare to care

You are Uncle Sam's
Missing children

Gone all these years
Still with us in memory

As we search for you
And your fate
Amongst the maze
of bureaucracy and intrigue
Silver name

We remember!  

© 2000 by Penni Evans
_______________________________________________________________________________________
REMEMBER WHEN

Remember When
You had stars in your eyes
The world was yours
Truth was noble
Camelot ruled
And you responded

Remember When
The stars became hazy
The World was a year away
Truth was trampled
Chaos ruled
And you fought just to survive

Remember When
Men took off their hats
As the flag passed by
Patriotism was quietly felt
Government was of the people
Honor was honored

Remember When
People remained sitting
When the flag passed by
Patriotism was only a yellow ribbon
Alphabet soup was just soup
Honor was dishonored

Remember When
You felt pride in America
Brothers and sisters were siblings
Honor was in yourself
Trust was something you took for granted
Love was dreamed about

Remember when
Pride remained but was tarnished
Brothers and sisters were forged in war
Honor remained but was torn and tattered
Trust was blown away
Love was only a dream

Remember When?

Yes.

© 2000 by Penni Evans

 MEMORIES OF VIETNAM

I was there to be life affirming
In an arena that destroyed life
I smiled
I listened
I tried to cheer and console the best I could
My eyes became glazed over
My heart encased and held tightly the tears
I never cried
I survived and lived and grew with a silent,
stone cold secret called Vietnam
I was there but I stayed silent
I know there is a stone cold wall that would
melt my heart if I approached it
Twenty-five years of tightly held tears could
not be silent anymore
Another memorial is drawing me near to approach
the wall of fear
I believe in wholeness!
The memory of the men who gave their lives
piece by piece, body part by body part is a separate
part of me.
It's strange that the names of those men written
on a wall and a statue placed near it could
break that silence and give me back a part
of myself that's steeled and sealed away
It's right that these monuments are large and
UNDENIABLE!

Sara Haines
RED CROSS SRAO  Vietnam 1967                                            

© 2002 by Sara Haines