Thursday, April 24, 2008


This poem depicts an incident that happened in November of 1967. In this incident, I was afraid to confront one of my peers and I was afraid of the reaction from my platoon. However, my conscience led me to a right decision.


Our patrol had moved out
into the rice paddies
about a quarter mile from the village gate.
Z was a short distance ahead of me
when he reached
the first hooch in
this area that we called
the “Bowling Alley.”
He walked to the hooch,
took out his lighter, and raised it.
His intention was to
torch the grass dwelling
while the little old man,
whose dwelling it was,
in desperation and anguish
begged him to stop.
Z’s mind was made up
until I raised my weapon,
leveled it at his head and
yelled, “I’ll shoot you if you burn it.”
With little hesitation he
extinguished the lighter,
dropped his arm,
and walked away.

Robert Jost

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