Applause breaks out at the dawning start
From deep within the many beating hearts,
Some anxiously contorting to see the yellow orb twinkling
Through the dense triple canopying.
Men rousing, C-rat browsing, blood soaked gauze,
With no mention of any cause,
But above all else, what stands above it all,
Were those eleven ponchos collecting the morning dew,
Lying on that LZ in plain view,
Silently whispering a language that only they knew.
Arouse, pausing for them to awaken,
Surely they are just sleeping, eerily surreal waiting
For the prank and leaping, but they remain quietly still,
Lined up so properly in formation, even keel.
The covering remains inert, a snapshot that lingers,
The shutter frozen, with only the trickling fingers,
Slowly creeping downward in a tension taut coil,
Then surging, merging with colliding broil,
Vanishing into the thirsty soil,
Filtering through the crimson stain,
Alongside future descendants forever in vain.
Fighting back tears, I hear the Huey vibrating above the
Creating a hurricane size breeze,
Time to say good-bye, promises to squeeze.
When I see the angelic silhouettes cutting my clinging stiff
Feel the soft clean snow white linen that is in league
With the virgin smell of those pearly sheets,
Wrapping my filthy torso in a heavenly heap,
I'll toast to you my brothers before I go to sleep.
Boarding the choppers, over seventy wounded and bound
Saluting those brave young men cut down,
Though they be forgotten by many at home in the crowd,
Even before they lay beneath the shroud,
Feint echoes of Saint Crispin's day stir deep within the
Rallying the spirits of those of us who lived and fought with
them that bout.
Our voices in unison burst out with a shout,
That the very stones, if we should doubt
Will celebrate and pay bounty to those trusted pals,
Judging us on that day that every knee shall bow.
We salute your courage and be it known to all around
That your lives are forever etched into our conscious crown,
As much a part of us as the blood that fills our veins.
You shall never be forgotten as long as breath contains.
We honor and pay tribute to the ultimate sacrifice arranged
And glory in the celebrations of life that you claimed for us in
by Terry Presgrove
... who is a decorated Marine combat veteran and freelance
writer, and whose poetic inspiration dates from the 11 September
2001 terrorist attacks. The Vietnam Quatrain comprises
The Revolving Door, The Morning
After, The Stolen Key [Locked
In Stone], and What A Shame. Specimens
of his other work may be accessed at his website.