Shell Shock

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short poem about a man scarred by the Vietnam war.

Submitted: August 14, 2017

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Submitted: August 14, 2017



When I was young, long ago, when war had not yet come,

a man of hopes and dreams i was,

oh, how, was I so dumb?


At age 19, in ’65, I was called to Vietnam,

”Kill on sight” the commander said,

These people were scum.


A hero, they called me, a true American man,

if they heard the things I’ve done,

they would not understand.


As the blood stained my hands,

I watched my comrades fall,

war had made me so damn numb,

I felt nothing at all.


Orders were clear,

shoot to kill,

all this death,

made me ill.


The ground was burning,

hot like hell,

napalm strike,

that God-forsaken smell.


Flesh melting,

bullets all around,

men screaming for their lives,

I’ll never forget that sound.


Chopper came to save us,

the engines roar,

safe at last,

fuck this war.


Coming home, brought no relief,

alone, without a purpose, I was swallowed by grief.





No child to carry on my name,

no wife I can hold tight,

not a single person in my life,

to help me through the night.


Looking in the mirror,

I see an old man filled with fear,

I cry to God and ask him,

why am I still here?


So ask yourself this,

in the middle of the night,

if the war came to you,

would you fight?


I stand in my home,

holding my gun,

I think to myself,

my life is done.


Thinking back,

On the blood and the poo,

My brothers died there,

I wish i did too.


No one who’ll cry,

no one who’ll mourn,

why in the world,

was I even born?


Laying there bleeding,

a single regret in life,

I never went out,

to find a wife.


Don’t cry,

Because I’m gone,

Just make sure,

My tale lives on...

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