Thursday, November 26, 2009
by Gary Jacobson © November 2006
Well, here it is, Thanksgiving in a foxhole...
I'm trying to fathom what thankful presentments fill my soul.
You know, it could be a whole hell of a lot worse
I could be pushin' up posies 'stead a here spoutin' verse.
So I guess most of all, I'm thankful I ain't yet dead
Laced with bullet holes oozing red
Here in Vietnam, ten thousand miles from home
Sent forth the rotting jungle to roam.
War has reduced my passionate patriotism to stone
Still so abandoned ... still so alone
Still bearing pains born in this land of egregious hurt.
To survive it this grunt just keeps on poundin' dirt.
So pardon me for wish'n for family, hearth and home
'Stead of walkin' this park from dawn till dark
Just a might cumbersome.. .
Just a might adventuresome. ..
This blithesome war chuck full o' shock and awesome.
I guess I'd like to say I'm truly thankful
Heaps more thankful than regretful
Sent where ham and choker C-rats take an awful toll
Leaving spirits kinda sick ... kinda droll.
I'd give my left, uh, you know, manhood, the Nam to quicken
Fer a bucket o' golden Kentucky Fried Chicken.
U'um, I'd like some of that bird finger lick'n good
You better know I would.
In my foxhole, visions of drumsticks float in my head
Remembering feeling good and overfed
Thanksgiving feasts with heaping turkey back in the world
The parties, the girls, the cruising, the girls unfurled
My car, the girls, my mother and apple pie, the girls, my family.
That's why I'm here, just an armed turkey
Mired in Nam's fickle state of perplexity
Surviving eternal "move 'em outs" with a grunt's dexterity.
I'm most thankful for rare nights of relative calm
I laugh and joke with brothers, peace on weary minds a balm
When there's no bloodshed, no firefight
No Charlie's comin' through the wire tonight
Just the routine clamor of interdictive artillery overhead
Reassuring I can snuggle into Nam's warm ground, my bed
Though in my foxhole repressive fears always abound
Senses acutely attuned to every little sound
Tight so nothing escapes you, in or out-bound.
You see, I'm fighting here for freedom's bright ray
And they can't take that away
Though war's full of conundrums, in this dirty little fray
Where I clearly see man's hypocrisy and greed
Vile corruption in hatred's evil seed
For which my brothers for the good fight bleed
So I'm here for them, my brothers, my fellow man
Laboring alongside surviving in the heart of Vietnam.
I'm thankful for good things in this park that abound
Deep dank dark depths of hell in the devil's compound
True brotherhood forged in this gory battleground
Where men to duty bound, astonish and astound,
Men honor bound, war's complexities bewilder and confound
In Vietnam, where I lost the boy, but found the man
Mid contentious toil and strife
Roiling, boiling hatreds brewing his carnal life.
I'm thankful to know I'm living
To pay sorrowful homage to the dead and dying
I survived this war's inhumanity unfurled
Surviving back to this knock down ornery world,
From war's pack of lies to rise to kiss the skies
Grateful to live through what I've seen
That from wars bestial carousel careen
Living with ghosts of brothers and enemies unseen.
Though by the Nam heart-stricken
This 'ol home-boy can take a lickin'n keep on tickin'
Held in the service of our country
That sent me so far to march with hell's infantry
Carrying in every deed His ever righteous sword
In the service of our Lord...
Gone for the world to save
Risen from a most foul grave.
I'm grateful for my PTSD
Given with a worlds sweet pain to comfort me
Guiding me back to war's malignant melee
Once again down in the valley of the shadow reverie
Forever riding bestial iron horses of the infantry
War's ogres dancing betimes with me
Do-si-doing in and out of the maw of death
Welcome back ... grateful to take a peaceful breath...
So chow down on your turkey with humble thanks giving
Grunt, be ever grateful for your living
Grasp your family to your bosom dearly
Know there are men out there, who this night do not rest easy
Who yet hear brave voices whispering in hot war winds breezy
Daily contending with wrong and right
Men, women, this very Thanksgiving night
Valiantly pursuing for the land they love, the eternal fight.
read entire poem here