Poetry Information

Rhymes of an Ordnance Man [Vietnam War: 1971]

Rhymes of an Ordnance Man
[Vietnam War: 1971]

An eleven part poem
By Dennis L. Siluk

I had went to Vietnam at the age of 23 [1971], and it was most interesting, there were 205,000 troops there when I arrived. I was asked recently at a lecture [question and answer] at a University in Peru, Huancayo, at the Los Andes, Language Center, how I liked it. Most of the students expected me to be down right rigid with my remarks, I think. But the first thing that came to mind was, '...war is a high," and so I expressed that to the students, they were a ting surprised. And so in this poem I try to outline a few of the more normal occurrences, and include the highs one may find in everyday soldiering in a war area:

Part One

Vietnam: Guard Duty at Dusk

? I paced along the wired fence
Quietly all night;
There was no stars, no moon

Just timid darkness for my light?

I glanced from tree to tree
I glanced from bush to bush
I saw a shadow moving

That never said a word:

"Halt, who goes there?" I cried. But he
Never heard me, I wondered why (?)

Oh, I called him several times,
As I walked the path alone;
And I watched and watched-but

Never saw the foliage move.

I ordered him against the fence
The sorry skies were dark like flint;
He heard the click from my rifle go

And cried like a morbid child.

O, I had no time to tarry-.
So I said, once and for all:
"Clasp your hands against the fence,

Or they'll find you dead tomorrow!"

I dreamed about that evil night
Now crowded with the dead;
War is not all love and laughter

-he never clasped his hands!

#645 5/2005

Part Two

Vietnam: The Frightful Fool
(Dedicated to the Los Andes Students)

"This is not a game," I said
And he quivered his looks away;
All the schooling he has in his head,
Will do for another day?.
"Run and hide," I cried;
The rockets whistle, isn't for school.

D'ye think he'd listen? Na,
Not much:
So I screamed "Wakeup Fool!"
With a cup of grief his way?!
?for there's no glory to die in
Vietnam; for a country that
Sweeps it soul away!...

And so the fearful fool awoke,
To live another day!...
In this game called face the foe
In the far-off jungles by
The South China Sea.

Part Three

Vietnam: Red Silence

I cannot silence, though I try
The sound of rockets in the sky;
Hurls at us in five-ton trucks:

The odyssey, of staying alive.

Yet, life is still a joy-and all is well?
(As we make earth our little hell).

We who hear war's red silence
(And are still alive to tell)
Lift up your eyes, see heaven,
Get out of the mud, awhile.

In fact, I didn't mind the horrors of war
For that is what we were there for;
Rather, I hated the mud, rain and grime;
And the shrapnel at times.

Part Four

Vietnam: Heroin-day

And I found in the open jungle

Golden light and golden peace

A thousand birds were singing!

I forgot, I was here to fight

To fight like a devil if need be.
I was in a fog-day-dreaming;
Kissing wenches amongst the

Glare and the grime, and trees.

I lay my rifle down to bit

To join the other dreamers yet
Dancing on top of a tin-roofed hut;

As if we were all crazy or nuts.

Fighting: was a far, far cry.

I never knew if the enemy was


Note: #646 5/11/2005

Part Five

Vietnam: Going Home

I'm goin' home in the

Mawin' -
I'm glad to have the chance-!

I'm done with fightin',

'ad had my fill of ?nam!

I'm goin', home in the

Mawin' -

I'm glad to have the chance-!

I've had my 'eap of fun
But now it's over;

And I wouldn't trade it
To anyone!!

Note: #647

Part Six

Vietnam: Morning Rockets

All morning long, rockets shot by
I stood by sandbags, opened-eyed!

At night, at night-the same
I, and my head dodging such things.

Little I thought, I'd die that morning,
For here I am, to write the story.

For out of the mysterious, Vietnam,
Came a blood-red sky for everyone.

Rockets whistled in the bloody sky,
They have tails like hawks, as they fly!

But the worst of all
?is when they land
A ghostly fate, in deadly sand?!

#648 [5/12/2005]

Part Seven

Vietnam: The Ballad of Lustful Luke

Ugh! What a shame-;
Let me whisper Luke's lustful game:

He'd make love several

Times a day?.

As I swept the dusty steps,
Polished my dirty boots

And cleaned my oily gun-
He'd be screwing everyone!!

And that is how we got to know
Each others name (that is so).

And he'd say:
"You want to play??"

And I'd answer:
"Got things to do, not today Lue!"

Yes, even when in the mist

Of combat-

He'd dip-down into
His little hut and screw
Screw his many sluts?!

"O flee, flee?" I told him many

"Before disease

Warped his mind.

But he never zippered-up

Those olive-green pants,
And thus, his spinal-cord


Unable to stand: he was
Flown to Tokyo, Japan.

Part Eight

Vietnam: The Barbwire

"Their all messed up in the barbwire-
(he said); shoot them in the head?

let's fire!"
Oh, what a time to die.

They never made a moan.
Caught in the barbwire fence:

Wet, with sweat to the bone!

Now here we stand, awaiting command

And the VC hasn't a chance.
And here we swear, smoke and

Crack dirty jokes-
As daylight grows awfully dim.

And here we play cards and laugh
While the cursed foe wiggles back,

Back through the barbwire fence;
As we wait for command, and wait

And wait?until they're gone.

Part Nine

Vietnam: Mothers Voice

He went away, to war, that

Autumn day
I watched him out my

Window ?

He sang a song, called

And I'm not sure if

He whistled.

Ah yes, my eyes had

But he couldn't have guessed

That so?

For I held them deep inside

My chest
And the pain

He never knew.

My boy, my boy who sings

So sweet
And pitiful proud was


But a mother has to let

Life flow-, you know
Be it God's will, her

Son should die!

For peace is bought with love

And tears-
Cheers and

Broken hearts?

But death is always far

Too near-
Far too near:

God, if it be Thy Will.

Part Ten

Vietnam: Carry-on Soldier!

I gave them my best
Out of the jungles of doubt;
To help the fella's in America out!

(Where life is worth living,

no doubt!)

Believe in your mission-
That is what I heard; then:

"Carry-on soldier; carry-on?.!"

It's easy to fight, if you think

It is right-!
It's a different song, if you think

It is wrong-!

But all I heard was:

"Carry-on Soldier, carry-on!"

Part Eleven

Vietnam: the Cross [1975]

And so, the war is now over
Mothers are now with their sons;
And the grieving has ended for many,
And for some, it has just begun.

Smile and try to be happy
Even thought peace was not the prize
For in the valley of hope we have given
Our brave and lovely boys.

Note: these are poems #645 through #656/5/2005

Dennis Siluk http://dennissiluk.tripod.com

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