Saigon '68

464 readings


I have seen you, shell-shocked city,
Shimmer in the parachute flares
The day’s dust and exhaust glowing green
In the light of descending torches.
I have heard the wooden whooping
Of the gunship’s prop as it circles Districts 7 and 8,
Pouring down fire, every fourth round a tracer,
A blazing stream arching onto its target.
Then, emptied, it flies away, leaving the night in silence,
Save for the rustle of bamboo leaves.
I have watched as the flares rock gently to their firefly deaths,
Returning the night to blackness.
Darkness – soft as felt cloth, brittle as smoked glass.
Shattered by a single rifle shot – crisp as billiard balls striking.


Image of Rendez-Vous, July 2019 issue

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Image of Mountain Nose
Mountain Nose · ago
Prithvijeet and Keith -- Thank you both. The poem was inspired by scenes from my Saigon rooftop watching the gunships continue to pound the sorry collection of dwellings a mile away. There were few houses by then; people survived in large sewer pipes with carpeting attached at either end. The Tet Offensive left the city vibrating like an angry nerve.
Image of Prithvijeet Sinha
Prithvijeet Sinha · ago
A brilliantly written work on the theater of a man made war.
Image of Keith Simmonds
Keith Simmonds · ago
A well-written poem, very touching, on the horrors of war!

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