Sarah's Poetry

The purpose of this blog is for some understanding that as I began my transition for all purposes, I had to reconcile some emotions that had been following me since my years in Vietnam. This small group of poetry began with "A Soldier's Time", an emotional catharsis starting in 1968 after I returned to the United States.

These poems emerged at the same time of Sarah's appearance.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A poem of Catharsis

This poem is the beginning of my release of my life from my male self and life. I wrote this as I began to reconcile my emotions with myself.

A Soldier’s Time

Each soldier’s time in country is tied to another,

Ties that both bind and separate; bend with us or break.

Each arrives to make their marks, to carry the torch of duty.

As soldiers bend family ties, memories of their existence fade.

Soldiers step out of the plane’s doorway,

Faces blasted by fierce waves of searing heat.

Lungs gasp for cool air, engulfed by Asian humidity.

Unfamiliar smells overpowers youthful senses,

Fragile protective cocoons of yesterday, shattered,

Welcome to Viet Nam, grunts!

War preparations are everywhere,

Wings of steel birds beat the air as they circle.

Ever vigilant they circle, hunting to satisfy primal needs.

Soldiers with machines protecting the man made nest.

The nest of concrete and steel, spreading like a virus.

Welcome to Viet Nam, grunts!

Herded like cattle, we shuffle and push along.

Through processing gates we scramble,

With bags and boxes from home we stumble.

Speeches, instructions, rules, regulations and orders obeyed.

Bullets and beans issued on the appropriate day.

Welcome to Viet Nam, grunts!

Loaded with new equipment and orders

We board bus and plane as directed by higher headquarters.

We follow the tracks of soldiers we are assigned to replace.

Spreading across the countryside heading

To our new companies and destiny; we hear:

Welcome to Viet Nam, grunts!

Women in broad straw hats wadding in paddies planting rice,

Men in metal helmets beating the bush looking for signs

Of the Asian soldier we call “Charlie”.

Kids in the streets with baskets loaded with items for sale,

Hawking “shoe shine”, treats or beer.

Welcome to Viet Nam, grunts!

Women in colorful dresses, standing in doorways of bars,

Selling themselves to pay mama-sans, buy food for the table.

Men in olive drab in doorways of war birds, watch for tracks

Losing pieces of their innocence expending M16 cartridges

Gaining caution and fear of what tomorrow brings.

Why are we here in Viet-Nam?

First we raid and destroy with bombs to preserve democracy.

Then we perform musical concerts to pacify and entertain.

Rifles and clarinets, bombs and drums;

Bullets zing while triangles ring.

Noises of war grow with a crescendo,

Clashing with music at the fortissimo.

We are in country first to play, second duties are to fight.

Why are we here in Viet-Nam?

Soldiers die and their thoughts and memories fade,

Just as melodic strains of marches echo’s through the hills,

Clashing with machines grumbling then dies away.

Soldiers count remaining days with short-timers sticks,

Until one’s time in country has been fulfilled and are replaced.

Why are we here in Viet-Nam?

Some soldiers can walk away, others must be carried,

Each arrives home in their own way, to testify to their bravery.

Those that can tell loved ones; what they feel and how they survived,

Must remember to tell the stories of those who lost the battle.

Each deed must be remembered, each life must be lifted.

To tell our children, why we were in Viet-Nam!

Each soldier’s time in country is tied to another,

Ties that both bind and separate; like fragile strands of fine ribbon,

Reaching back to the hills of Viet-Nam, are the strands of our memories.

Trampled and obscured as the next soldier carries his torch of duty.

Back home our faded ribbons hang on sunken chests

Signifying our ribbons of fading memories

To “Our Soldier Time”, in Viet-Nam.

Sp5 Riggle

First Cavalry Division; June 67-June 68

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