Poetry

The Heroes All Are Dead

 The Heroes All Are Dead

A chance encounter at the horse track
An old man nearby heard me say
To my brother by blood and by Parris Island’s mud
"Did we throw all those good years away?"

"How so?," brother asked in confusion
"The Marine Corps was good to us both"
"I know, what I meant was, we never got sent
Twenty years after taking the oath"

"Both Dad and Uncle Duke spent a winter
In Korea’s snow-crusted hell
But here you and I were so willing to die
And we’re home, with no stories to tell

At this the old man moved in closer
A sad smile hung beneath his sad eyes
"Don’t you know how it goes, both in jungle and snows,
Don’t you know how the young hero dies?

I was there with your dad and your uncle
I didn’t know them but nevertheless
Like you not yet certain I said ‘Throw back the curtain
Show me WAR, I’ll accept nothing less’

My illusions lasted all of ten seconds
I can’t tell you just what we went through
But I wanted to run though we’d just now begun
And forget what I suddenly knew

So many strong caring fathers
Husband’s and sons just the same
They never went home, they left loved ones alone
Having died on strange soil in great pain

Two tours in Korea, blessed peacetime
Ten years later Vietnam two years more
The things that I’ve seen are so grossly obscene
That no tales can be told about war

Go home son, adore your sweet children
Love your wife and enjoy your soft bed
Every day thank the Lord for this ‘peace-timely bored’
For the heroes are, all of them, ...dead"



contributed by Dwight Jenkins [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.