Sunday, May 4, 2008

Distant Land

Nancy Griffith’s song, “Heart of Indochine” (2005) was one inspiration for this poem. She sings of her experiences in Vietnam, of the Saigon River, and of souls. My other inspirations are fellow combat veterans with whom I regularly interact.

Distant Land

She sings of war dead bodies,
In years past,
“Washed ashore” from
A distant river.
She sings of “those souls
That floated free,”
Released now,
In a “river of peace”—
The Saigon River.

Living soldiers,
Souls, washed back
Onto these shores between
The early 1960s and 1975
at Travis*, and
when there was fog there,
in Oakland or San Francisco**
Not peaceful shores.

To these troubled
Souls peace remains
A distant dream.
A distant war,
A distant time

Where do we find
Peace in this distant land?

Pray for peace on
These remote shores.

Hoa Binh***

*Travis Air Force Base in California where solidiers returned to the United States.
**Oakland or San Francisco Airports
*** “Peace” in Vietnamese

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