Poems to Remember

By Jan C. Scruggs

A friend of mine, Dr. Mary C. Rorro, sent these to me. Dr. Rorro is a Psychiatrist and author of these short but beautifully-written poems. They will give you a feel for what it was like to be in Vietnam. Of course, there is no way to fully experience the events unless you had been there, but these poems offer insight into the emotions all soldiers felt during that time:

Tunnel Rats 
I slithered down dank
tunnels of Cu Chi

my body small
mad muscles lean

The mission:
search and destroy

my 45’ll snuff out
Charlie’s boys

Not only guns and rifles
do I need to slip, but

the poisoned fangs
of Cong’s punji sticks

I turn the corner facing
jet eyes darting

back at me
Fear would be Chuck’s

fatal flaw
One breath’s wait cost him

my pistol’s first draw
A second VC was

prepared to click
his Soviet special sought

to fetch me with
its searing pitch, but I’ll

be damned if I’ll feel its
slam in this Devil’s Ditch

A bullet missed my
grime-painted face

in this crazed claustrophobic
space

But today was not
my day to die

I would live
for another dive

deep into war’s
dark divide

Bunker Bill 

His thin window pane rattles
against its howling frame

that is how he knows winter
solstice has arrived again

Winter wind’s glacial breath
chills his aging bones

Bill burrows into earth’s surface
rarely reemerging where
danger may be lurking

trembling hands seeking to cheat
death once dug deeper foxholes

as mortar rounds blew.
overhead

he fled to a bunker
his only sure shelter from

Vietnam’s Helter Skelter
still, no man can pull Bill
from his new fortified bunker

his prisoning perimeter protects
him from a soldier’s strife

yet war’s wounds unhealed
have robbed him of his life

Field of Dreams

Flowerless fields
verdant and spare

countless crosses
so many to bear

three lines define
soldiers and sons

chapters unwritten
books undone

After reading these poems, I felt emotions I haven’t felt for a while. They made me think of what I went through in Vietnam, the things I saw, and the people who never made it back home. The sacrifices bravely displayed by my fellow service members should never be forgotten. This is the reason why our construction of The Education Center at The Wall is so vital, and why VVMF will continue to urge your support until it is completed.

Go to www.buildthecenter.org for more information.

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