Vietnam War Memorial

On a recent visit to Washington DC I visited the Vietnam War Memorial. The massive black granite slabs rising out of the earth with the names of fallen soldiers seared through me and I found myself in tears. The poem below wrote itself.

Vietnam War Memorial                                                                                Ian Prattis 

 

Gaunt with grief:

Motionless:

Stilled, Silenced:

Cold December day:

Grey and bleak.

 

I could not move:

Stunned:

Frozen in Time:

Unbelieving:

Damn it all!

Damn!

It!

All!

 

It was not my war

don’t you know?

They were not my people

don’t you see?

Do I protest too much?

 

Name engraved black marble slabs

rising from the earth

sear into my soul.

Burning deep to feel the pain,

of so many deaths, such futility.

Ball of fire flames my chest,

chills the marrow of my bones.

 

Subterranean edifice                                                                                                                                         hurts me awake,

transforms deep memories

for my own kind.

Fellow Humans.

 

Americans,

Vietnamese,

All peoples

caught in the sinister web

of dark and deadly shadows

that lurk in all of us:

Hate, Greed and Power.

 

I circle the profanity of war,

nerve center of our world.

Grimly aware thought:

Our world must be transformed:

Our world must be changed:

 

And we must do it.

Transforming ourselves

then others in swift urgency.

Else the memoirs

of our civilization

are no more than

Monuments To The Dead.

 

Our Dead:

Yours

And

Mine.

2 thoughts on “Vietnam War Memorial

  1. Hi, Ian. When I could travel to Washington, The Wall was a mandatory visit. I have/had friends whose names are on that wall. It is an unforgettable experience.

    If I may, you might also like to listen to the song “The Wall”. The recording I have is by John McDermott in the Album “Buy Victory Bonds” and might possibly be in “Songs of Remembrance”.

    Ken Carter

    Like

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