From Dong Ha we traveled fast
raising the dust, burning my eyes,
to Gio Lihn on a highway to hell,
the whole idea was to offer communion
from the priest who would not stop.
I had been this way in times past
I was always ready to stop for kids,
up ahead a blast tore thru the crowd
murder, first degree on my road
it was meant for me that afternoon.
Now lay women only for my eyes to see,
small girls and boys in their play
dying, with old small men
their whiskers and walking canes.
a young women beyond the shock,
in her red blood, I was sitting,
long, black hair and brown eyes,
looking for compassion in my blues,
blue as the sky, red now with tears.
I said lets stop! these were people too,
he was a priest wasn't he? no go on
was the echo I heard, no go on!
there they lay, her dying eyes chose mine,
I left her my heart, that was all I could do.
We got to Gio Linh a fire base from hell
to give communion for the walking dead
I waited for the things that Catholics do,
while turning around for the hell of
going back to the place of horrors,
the place of the blast on the road.
I looked for that part of my heart
the girl who looked in my eyes now gone,
that day I gave her sanctuary within my eyes,
she died with that, an a piece of my angry heart;
All that was left that day were blood stains
mixed in the red dirt, the old man and children
made little difference in death, though God
may have had a place for them all...
But where was my sanctuary?
Mike Hendershot 2009
"And wrath has left its scar-- that fire of hell
Has left its frightful scar upon my soul."
William Cullen Bryant
23 Sep 09
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I don't even want to crit this, actually. A memory of this magnitude might be better left in splatters on the page. Your poems did the job of cathartic cleansing, hopefully. Unless you are planning to do something more with this poem, it seems enough to read it and try to understand the hugeness of your visions and how you could not/cannot escape. Thank you for showing the dying girl compassion, thank you for caring that you had to fight and kill, that it mattered to you, it was not just a job and that you returned home changed forever by what you saw.
a tragic scenerio told well-
though line 27--should it be Catholic(s) ?
also, I think your (WC Bryant) footnote should be your preface..
of course, that's always up to you..
otherwise, I echo Isabelle's sentiment...
No mistakes but a couple of typos. Unrelenting, compelling, powerful- as pure truth must be when applied to such horror. And still we will not learn.
Thank you all for your compliments, I hope that others to shy, will read and know a piece of the
saga's Requiem Aeternam-67 and the finish, Sanctuary-67 before they are gone for history here...
Always keeping it real. 10
Are you going to put your '67 poems into a small book form so they are together in one place? It might be something good for your soul, you could donate the money raised to PTSD help for other soldiers. Or you could spend it yourself, I'm not your financial advisor!
Ending a line with an insignificant word like 'of' is a waste. Place the verbs and nouns here for it is a point of focus in the line. Besides the 'of' makes the enjambment obvious.
thanks BxPR for your support !
I/5 thanks again for your interest putting anything together is beyond me, also there are so many books I am sure on the market that the cost would out weigh the investment, plus from my brothers experience someone would just steal it anyway, fun huh... just having a record and a small book like we have here is fun enough for me, by the way who ever thought of the books were smarter than I...
Unk... I don't see the "of" you refer to but it was just something I over looked j.g. smiles
Not sure who would steal it but then someone bought the rights to my father's doctorate and is selling it! I have no idea who would want to read about the Uralic/Altaic languages but someone apparently does!
A short documentary would be fun, but nosey I think... by the way good luck understanding Unk's comment P :O) was their monicker... j.g. smiles
This hurt to read. So much death for very little reason, a story told by a man with a beautiful heart--so bruised, so bruised, so bruised.
It was those eyes laying sideways on that hot dirt road, going thru me in colors, I had no choice that afternoon as she in her black blouse lay contorted with unbelief, pleading without a word... sanctuary was all I had to offer... j.g. smiles
nice Goeszon. just nice.
i wish that this was fiction, tragedy of life prevailing regardless of people fighting against it. such a thing isn't so good. but you've written this well, the way you always do.
There is a lot of fiction out there as far as I am concerned, thanks for your compliment, I have a few more pieces to add to the saga... but I am not sure people would be interested, thanks again for not just letting this one pass by... j. g. smiles
nice to see you up on the board GoesZen -- you're a persistent writer that learns as he burns -- Guerrilla warfare often does not care who they kill which is how they lost the loyalty of the people after-all -- however, there are no good wars, only good men with hearts giving them the courage to make a difference -- write-on GoesZen
Alchemia, thanks for coming on board, you are a delight to sore eyes...
"We as a nation
In our small wars
Invest the souls of many
For King of the Hill." Hendershot (1948- )
"What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal."
Albert Pines..... j.g. smiles
A few problems with punctuation and confusing tense shifting on the parts about her eyes, it's a little unclear... but a very beautiful, powerful poem nonetheless.
Lol have a nice day. :-)
Have a nice day. Lol :-)
Come on you can do better that that! have a nice day. :-)
Andyleggett, my eyes were the blue ones she looked into, her brown-black eyes figured into many places mainly the eyes are open in death and the girls death surrounding her were for my eyes only as I was only there to see them etc she was still alive in shock crying out with all she had her eyes looking at my blues, blue as the sky, but red from tears to this evening her eyes have an effect on me after all these years I always see those eyes looking for a place to hide in mine but I had nothing to offer for her life only my compassion later I looked for those eyes to get some relief but where was my sanctuary for that experience... j.g. smiles
In the Words of Rodney King...
Can't we all just get along?
To paraphrase "All it takes for dishonesty to triumph is for honest men to do nothing." This is about raviolisky lying the rest is distraction. It was an unknown who brought this to your poem I responded. Mike check your e mail
"I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano; A stage where every man must play a part, And mine is a sad one" The Bard of Avon... William Shakespeare
No one wants to give you an honest to god criticism because they're afraid you will snap and pull a trigger on yourself. Including myself. This is the downside, that you're holding everyone hostage in fear of some kind of self mutilation, However the upside is that you leave such amazing feedback on everyone else’s poetry, love the quotes it’s as if you have commented, and you give good ratings.
That is why my friend it’s win-win situation for everyone, give you enough support that you manage to improve enough that you feel you are improving. Which you are, you are improving your verbiage and how you use it…so on and so one…but it’s also a tragic lose – lose if you want to be a poet. Trust me. You have to put your life on the life, the same as a solider the same way as a poet. Except in poetry there is no such thing as infantry, a man once he makes the ranks of a Poet he is a General. He is the leader. Any poet worth his salt will tell you that what you have been writing lacks…so much depth and feeling.
Why? I don’t know. You know.
I give that you have the will and the desire to write, I have read all your poems and am telling you, you’re stopping yourself. I do NOT know why? Is it fear? Complacency? Is it lack of talent? Are you spending to much time reading and comparing yourself to others? I don’t know, no one can know, except you. I see you try to defend or showcase your cerebral thoughts by always providing some type of quote or reference to a book or author, as such to prove that you’re legitimate. That’s not what’s going make a decent poet, that is like someone bragging that he can assemble and disassemble a rifle it has no measure of how he would perform in the battlefield.
You have experienced a life that is unique, but you continue to struggle to find mundane words mundane structures, used and tired expressions that describe who you are and what you have done. Most of the people that give you comments all what they now of a battlefield is what they saw in a movie and as such give advice. And you listen. Don’t you know who you are man?
You have experienced Insanity on the field, but every write is so controlled, contrived, and structured. Everything is looking back. Is this what you want to do? Walkback into your life and hold up a couple of bloody words use them as props. So people can nod and give you the heads-up they understand you?
or do you want them to experience what it means to BE.
now no worries shortly after this posted, everyone else will come and give you praises, and tell you that I’m an unknown and too coward to leave…bla.
This a poetic intervention, everyone else is addicted to bullshit, they will tell you want you want to hear. You be the judge on what you should believe. I have nothing to gain, or lose. but maybe you do.
Goeszon - I read this poem a week or so ago, before my hard drive had a meltdown (god bless time machine!) and wanted to comment to you about how often the essence of this poem has found its way into my thoughts. When I re-read it, I was looking for the image of the black blouse, which is what really stayed with me.
Looking at your comments - it was there that image was formed and that particular comment, for me, sums up the essence of this poem. That tragic image with the colors it evokes in me will last.
Thank you Cocoa for your interest in this piece... eyes sideways in the hot red dirt, shocked me in colors, I had no choice but to stare at those eyes and reflect the black contorted body with her chest slightly showing naked and a black bloody blouse ... pleading with her eyes everything still, all I really had was the sanctuary of my eyes... j.g. smiles
same old thing
Thanxs unk... cheers
This was the first poem of yours I read... great to see it so close to the top, where it belongs. This is some of your best work: the rawness and the truth which is what makes great poetry; everything else is decoration and medium, but *this* is the heart.
I really like this poem keep up the good work
Thank you both for your interest and comment tonight... it was all a walk or should I say ride that day that came upon these pages here, I was kept and they weren't, I guess guardian angels and there timing has a lot to say here but I still feel for those killed and maimed... j.g. smiles
throw that molten-grenade of your heart pumping hot horrors, red-angers and tears that lacerate the flesh - boom!
AlchemiA... thanks for your bubbly remarks, I couldn't spell the other word, you are a card man!
this is pure unadulterated non-fiction to the look in her eyes, which Bryant handled so well for my state of mind...
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