Poetry
 

"No Mercy"

In the factory I was not unique

Thousands were created, in just a week

Placed in crates, and moved along

Soon we reached, the great Haiphong

 

Off the ship, and onto the dock

Sweating men, who worked the clock

Onto a truck, and down a bouncy road

Arriving at a warehouse, to be stowed

 

Weeks went by, in that lonely crate

Waiting for someone, to deal my fate

Then one day, I heard some voices

They’d come for me, like human horses

 

Some brief sunlight, and then into a pack

I knew for a fact, I’d not be back

Down the trail, for days on end

Dodging the Americans, around each bend

 

Soon we arrived, at the mighty Mekong

There to be turned over, to the Viet Cong

He was on a mission, the mighty Nguyen

To meet up with his comrades, in the U Minh

 

After days of travel, they finally arrived

In the jungles, where the Viet Cong thrived

Planning at night, for the next day’s attack

I was getting excited, for my time to act

 

Nguyen crept slowly, launcher in hand

Ducking and hiding, it was his land.

I could hear the boats, coming down the river

Nguyen was brave, but I felt him quiver

 

He snatched me quickly, from his pack with ease

Gently turning my fins, and then he squeezed

Placing me securely, in the tube for action

Adjusting his site, just a little fraction

 

The lead boat appeared, into his sight

Full of solid iron, weapons and might

Nguyen softly trembled, as he heard the din

One more ambush, he hoped they’d win

 

The Tango was to be, my target this day

Full of anxious troops, I’d have my way

Trigger soon pulled, I felt such great power

It had finally become, my greatest hour

 

The air felt humid, as tip hit home

Entering the bar armor, I slid through foam

Burning the steel, like a cutting tool

My purpose was solely, to be oh so cruel

 

As I break through, I see some men

Not aware of what force, came from Nguyen

The mighty explosion, sends me everywhere

Catching the men, with no one to spare

 

Red hot shrapnel, piercing their sinew

Changing the lives, of a mighty few

Searing muscles, and breaking bones

Doing my job, in the IV Corps Zone

 

Two died instantly, others lay wailing

For years my wrath, will leave them ailing

Piercing their organs, is my greatest joy

Taking the lives, of the young warrior boys

 

Now in the desert, or upon the roof tops

We rockets still come, from a good crop

Made for destruction, carrying out our role

The years have been good, we taken our toll

 

Today it’s Humvees, and Abram tanks

Our new generation, gives their thanks

A moment in time, awaiting their orders

The crate will open, for their porters

 

Carried once again, to some distant land

Ready as usual, to deal their hand

Burning through bodies, with no respite

Powerful rockets, full of deadly might

 Michael A. Harris – 12/14/04
 

"Peace With Dishonor"

Selfish men and women ... unmindful of souls in their trust.

Feeding upon lustful power ... as a vulture devours flesh.

Grease pencils and stick pins ... taking the place of soldiers.

At Pentagon meetings and parties ... gargantuan egos roamed.

Seeking to etch their marks ... in tomorrow's history books.

In distant rice paddies ... blood permeated the waters.

Cries from steamy jungles ... muffled by narcissistic desire.

Arrogant men making choices ... for combatants in faraway lands.

Men ruling over their peers ... having never tasted of war.

Feeding their quest for power ... as the coffins made their journeys.

"Peace with Honor" ? ... Such a premeditated facade.

Falsehoods belched from deep ... camouflaging heroic deeds.

Kennedy, Johnson and McNamara ... all with egocentric goals.

Nixon, Kissinger and others ... adding to the abomination.

Manipulating a nations youth ... from high upon their pedestals.

Daily pleas from distant soil ... Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia.

Reaching towards the heavens ... daily, monthly and yearly.

Sons of Mothers and Fathers ... gasping for their last breath.

Unknown to the feelings of many ... hushed by the opposition.

Flag draped caskets awaited  ... the digging of the tombs.

Situations began to change ... so McNamara and Johnson quit.

Corruption shared no boundaries ... pervading amidst the ranks.

Perpetuated by the dollar ... greed obeyed the ravenous demon.

Oil companies and arms suppliers ... all grazing at the feast.

While young men lay dying ... the banquet table was set.

The political chess match continued ... from one decade to another.

Twenty seven million were eligible ... a mere nine million served.

A nation internally wounded ... smiting it's own warriors.

Divided to the very core ... infiltrated with selfish desire.

Searching for a scapegoat ... they turned to the faithful soldier.

It came down to a peace table ... arguments abounded daily.

Guided by unrighteous acts ... causing entire families to grieve,

Thousands of soldiers captured ... succumbing to the torture.

While dapper men gathered ...  to fret over frivolous matters.

Captives rotting in their feces ... trying to survive from day to day.

"Peace with Honor" ? ... Shallow words from a recent past.

Spewing from a criminal ... prior to resigning in disgrace.

His friends and cohorts ... cloaked in a shroud of secrecy.

Hands tainted with blood ... as they signed the peace accords.

Abandoning valiant soldiers ... shackled in a distant land.

Years of lies and debauchery ... permeating deep within the ranks.

Covering those deeds of the past ... under the guise of security.

Consciences seared with deceit ... hiding their master's secrets.

Treasonous acts continue to follow ... those decisions made years ago.

Callously ignoring the dignity ... of those warriors left behind.

Judgment Day lies on the horizon ... from it there shall be no escape.

It hides there in the shadows ... as a Lion stalks his prey.

Injustice, pride and rebellion ... he thrives upon their flavor.

A profound peal of thunder ... will mark that fateful day.

The guilty standing naked together ... before our Almighty God.

Michael A. Harris  -  27 July 1994
 

"Lonely Soldier"

Surrounded by the enemy, with no place to go.

Rifle butts and fists, inflicting horrible pain.

Reality came so quickly, how was I to know?

I stand to lose it all, without a thing to gain.

Quickly my family flashes, against the terror and fear.

Mother, Dad and Junior, what will they ever think?

Shirley and the babies, what awful news they'll hear.

Drastic change has come, in just a moments wink.

Forced marches were routine, they became pure hell.

There was no relief, for my wretched burning feet.

Sores gathered swiftly, they oozed a putrid smell.

Malaria and Dengue Fever, tried to hasten my defeat.

Hemp around my elbows, my arms suffering so dearly.

Isolation and hunger, ravaged my fragile soul.

Hope dwindled rapidly, as monthly turned to yearly.

My life tried to ebb, so living became my goal.

Migrating from cage to cave, always on the move.

Where I was being herded, only God would really know.

Resistance began to weaken, I had nothing left to prove.

Who was I to impress, with some brave gallant show?

I still cherish that day, when I finally saw Garcia.

Many months of suffering, but he still had a smile.

Silver and Bronze Stars, he had won them in Korea.

He was a proud old Sergeant, who'd been in for a while.

It still hurts my soul, whenever I ponder his fate.

Infection and diarrhea, had taken their ugly toll.

When medicine finally arrived, it was a week too late.

I buried him with honors, there upon a rising knoll.

Rumors came filtering down, in early Seventy Three.

Of a large prisoner release, up north towards Hanoi.

Keen to sights and sounds, I knew there still was war.

I had given up on trust, my enemy was awfully coy.

Then one day came silence, it was early Seventy Five.

Celebrations of victory, my captors could not hide.

The stillness made me wonder, did they know I was alive?

Great slaughter was to follow, it was hard to abide.

Death was all around me, the "Puppets" were being purged.

They told of our withdrawal, it was difficult to believe.

I had to watch my allies, who one by one were scourged.

Life had become a thread, my past was hard to retrieve.

Treatment started to improve, a welcome consolation.

Wounds began their healing, which brought ample relief.

I pray to my God daily, with appreciable anticipation.

Hoping He will reward me, for my perennial belief.

The war is obviously over, I have no place to go.

Much has been forgotten, where is my joyful past?

Mom and Dad may have died, it hurts to miss them so.

Even provided the chance, I probably wouldn't ask.

Thoughts of Shirley are fading, where could she be today?

She could not be expected, to wait these many years.

My heart has become so hollow, what could I even say?

Visions of my children, fill me with anguish and tears.

Will they ever come a marching, to free my soul at last?

I'm tired of propaganda, but maybe they are right.

Perhaps I am a criminal, and suffer for my past.

Thoughts I must avoid, as I continue my daily plight.

Twenty five years have gone, so quickly before my eyes.

How slowly they have passed, since that fateful day.

The sun sets every evening, there is no new surprise.

As a scared little child, I have surely lost my way.

Jesus is my only hope, throughout this time of pain.

He's met me many a night, to comfort my weary soul.

Montagnards He has sent, to lift me again and again.

They sneak me Bible verses, to make my life seem whole.

Although I am held captive, my spirit still soars free.

There is a life hereafter, His medicine is my cure.

Even though man's so evil, God's Spirit comforts me.

And I know without a doubt, that His love for me is pure.

Michael A. Harris 11/12/92

Revised 3/14/98
 

"REFLECTING"

My childhood days seemed so very full.

Running and playing, no care at all.

The days were so active, there was no lull.

Soon it was school in the early fall.

It was so fun to learn with each new day.

"Dick and Jane" were read out loud.

I was taught to pledge the American way.

As the years flew by I became very proud.

Then there were girls and the noontime dance.

Emotions went wild when one of them cared.

My heart would melt with the slightest glance.

I’d often feel that we should be paired.

Then off to high school and a brand new game.

Crewcuts, Madras shirts and pegged blue jeans.

I was popular due to my football fame.

It sure was cool to be in my teens.

Graduation came and soon I was out.

The next step was college and a degree.

Rumors of war were wandering about.

How could it be in the land of the free?

At once I was faced with making the grade.

The pressure was strong, I couldn’t perform.

In the Navy I thought I’d have it made.

Just sail the seas and weather the storm.

Then there came a sudden change of heart.

The patriotism arose like a sleeping lamb.

I knew I had to fulfill my part.

Next stop in my life would be Vietnam.

Such an adventure for a very young man.

From backwoods and innocence to the real war.

Meals came too often from a C-ration can.

It was an experience to lay with a whore.

I had the attitude that I’d never die,

But that all changed with the first firefight.

As my .50 roared death I wanted to cry.

It was so damn black, where was the daylight?

Again and again we were hit that eve.

For a kid from the country it seemed so strange.

I couldn’t have imagined, I wanted to leave.

All I desired was to get out of their range.

Finally the guns were silenced at least.

I was amazed at how I performed under such stress.

At the reports of dead and wounded I was aghast.

How did I end up in this horrible mess?

On and on it went throughout my year.

While trying to survive, I wondered "Why?"

I was becoming so hard I couldn’t shed a tear.

I counted the days til I could say "Goodbye".

That day finally came after much blood and sweat.

All I could think of was fleeing that land.

I thought of our lost ones and silently wept.

While seeing visions of home and a big brass band.

No one was there as my Freedom Bird arrived.

Who were those people with all of the signs?

Didn’t they know we had just survived?

I could hardly identify with the changing times.

The years that followed I became ever so bitter.

It’s been impossible to pledge allegiance again.

I did my job and was never a quitter.

Our hands were tied, we weren’t allowed to win.

That’s OK, the wounds are slowly healing.

Wars come and go, they seem to be a must.

I’ve found my Lord and he’s very appealing.

He’s allowed me to see, in Him I can trust.

So I continue on in this world each day.

Reflecting upon those terrible days of old.

Trying to grow as I commune and pray.

Releasing the "old man" and grasping God’s gold.

As I cross the paths of my comrades and brothers.

The reunions are grand and I can share my fate.

We have more in common than many, many others.

My prayer is that we can meet at that Pearly Gate.

Michael A. Harris – 1982

 

 

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