Letter from I Corp

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Penned in 1984 but never printed. Perhaps the Iraq war would have been the time to print.

My brother's son turned seventeen just the other day

He never knew his father though. He died retaking Hue (Hway)

What do you say to an angry young man who wants some answers 'bout Viet Nam?

What did he fight for?

What did he gain?

There wasn't any fortune. There was no fame.

Some fool said his daddy died in vain.

Johnny broke his jaw. He did the right thing.

His ma sat him down and tried to explain;

Your pa was young and brash, but just the same, he felt commitments to many. There would be no shame.

Nothin's gonna hurt the family name. No, nothin's gonna hurt the family name.

Well it was just before the news

that most terrible of news

that I received his letter, the one with his views

He said Mike, I think our country has put me on the spot

Christ, I can't believe the destruction and the rot

Am I a killer when the triggers pulled or a coward when It's not?

Life is so damn cheap here

this war so undefined

No noble cause exists. We're all just doin' time.


If I don't make it back there to see my son grow tall

I know you'll take him fishin' and teach him to play ball.

But if the day should come when our country goes to war,

You tell him to go off and contemplate; What are we fightin' for?

And if it ain't a good cause and if it don't agree.

You tell him to stand against it and not be trapped like me.

Submitted: January 26, 2017

© Copyright 2021 Mike Keller. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Keke Serene

Very nice! The Vietnam war really was a war that wasn't meant to be fought by the US.

Thu, January 17th, 2019 12:19pm

Bert Broomberg

Great poem. The Vietnam war makes a great subject for pointing out issues about wars in general. Good stuff.

Wed, November 6th, 2019 8:08pm


very well stated

Wed, April 1st, 2020 10:22pm


A terrible war that wracked the collective consciousness of America. I wasn't there, but I can feel the Angst and tribulation the son of a vet went through. Over all great poem.

Wed, May 6th, 2020 4:31pm


Sa War...like all wars

Wed, August 26th, 2020 4:43pm

Antietam 5

My uncle was in Vietnam...this is a powerful poem. I have always wondered what Nam could have been like...reading this adds to that thought.

Mon, September 14th, 2020 9:41am


Nice poem. All governments claim that their wars are glorious, holy, for survival and for their people. But at the end, wars only serve the rulers. They are all about wealth and power. People pay the price of wars with their blood in order to enrich and empower a small parasite minority.

I once fueled a war machine. I prepared child soldiers for the government during the Iran-Iraq war. I thought it's not a big deal. I thought it's just a job. But it was criminal. I was destroying those children. Despite I hated that criminal predatory war, I was an actual participant in it until I decided to stop. I had to risk my career and my life to undo what I had done.

Fri, November 13th, 2020 6:37am

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