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Vietnam Wall
Photo Courtesy: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Site

"Eyes of the Past"
L. Hunter & T. Nesbitt

Six brave young men with dark painted faces,
Move slowly and silently, leaving no traces.
Inserted alone, in the green jungle, deep,
All the dense foliage their secrets to keep.

A game of hide and seek in “Charlie’s” back yard,
Patiently waiting for your turn on guard.
Lying in ambush along the dark trail,
Your mind wanders back to yesterdays mail.

As thoughts of home begin flooding your mind,
You think of the loved ones that you left behind.
A different sound suddenly grabs your attention,
As the jungle takes on a whole new dimension.

As the sound draws closer, and the tension mounts,
You ask yourself, “Will I do well when it counts?”
Then maybe it wasn’t a voice that you heard,
You strain to hear, could it be just a bird?

Clanging "metal on metal" confirms your worst fear,
As you frantically wonder, “Why the hell am I here?”
This test is a final, they don’t grade on curve,
And you pray to your God, He will give you the nerve.

Your heart pounds so hard, you’re sure they’ll hear,
As three N.V.A. soldiers draw increasingly near.
They casually walk into the kill zone,
Confident and sure that they are alone.

One turns, and looks and stares deep in your eyes,
A look of shocked horror and complete surprise.
You give him no time to warn all the others,
The M-16 fires in defense of your brothers.

It’s over in seconds, three enemy dead,
In reflection you sadly just shake your head.
You have found no joy in taking a life,
They were somebody’s sons, you think of your wife.

“Better them then me” you use to think,
But now Fridays are spent with the VA shrink.
How often you feel you are losing your mind,
Now comfortable only among your own kind.

The nightmares have led to more sleepless nights,
As you think way back then, to that one brief fire fight.
The NVA soldier’s dark eyes you still see,
And you sometimes think, "it could have been me."


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