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Rhymes of an Ordnance Man [Vietnam War: 1971]
By Dennis Siluk

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?/P>

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!?/P>

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.

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